Interim Federal Health Program – Beneficiaries
What is the Interim Federal Health Program?
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) covers certain health care benefits for specific groups of people until they become eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance, such as:
- protected people, including resettled refugees,
- refugee claimants, and
- certain other groups.
The IFHP doesn’t provide services directly to you. Instead, the services are provided by health professionals. A company called Medavie Blue Cross manages IFHP claims. They cover the cost of services from IFHP-registered health care providers (doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies) if you are eligible.
Find out more about who is eligible for IFHP and the services available to them.
What coverage do I get through the Interim Federal Health Program?
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides the following coverages:
- basic health care services (such as doctor visits, hospital care, lab tests),
- supplemental services (such as limited vision care, urgent dental care),
- prescription drug coverage (medications and products), and
- in some cases, one Immigration Medical Exam (IME).
The IFHP doesn’t cover services or products that you can claim under other insurance plans, such as:
- provincial or territorial health care, or
- private insurance plans.
Find out more about the products and services covered by the IFHP and how long you will be covered.
Which documents prove I’m eligible for the Interim Federal Health Program?
Any of these documents issued by IRCC will prove your eligibility for the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP):
- Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD) (with photo)—you get this document after your interview and either
- Your refugee claim is referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), or
- It is decided that your claim isn’t eligible to be referred to the IRB but you are eligible to apply for a pre-removal risk assessment
- Interim Federal Health Program Certificate (IFHC) (with or without a photo)—you get this certificate if you’re a resettled refugee going to live in Canada or a member of another eligible beneficiary group.
- Acknowledgement of Claim form (AOC)—you get this letter after you make a refugee claim and you’re scheduled for an interview.
- Temporary Document for Lost/Stolen Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD)—temporary measures document for in-Canada refugee claimants who have had their Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD) lost or stolen.
An officer from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or the Canada Border Services Agency will give you your IFHP eligibility document.
How do I get health care services or treatment through the Interim Federal Health Program?
Follow these steps:
1. Find a health care provider who is registered with Medavie Blue Cross.
- Medavie Blue Cross is the company that manages Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) claims.
- If your health care provider isn’t registered with Medavie Blue Cross, they can easily register.
2. Show your IFHP eligibility document to your health care provider before they treat you.
3. After you are treated, your health care provider may give you a claim form. You must sign this form to prove you were given the health service or product.
- Before using any services, ask if the provider takes part in the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) and agrees to send their bill to Medavie Blue Cross.
- You don’t have to accept services from health care providers who don’t take part in the IFHP. For example, if a pharmacy asks you to pay for medication, you can find another pharmacy that is registered with the IFHP.
- If you go to a pharmacy that is not located in your province of residence (e.g. if you live in Ontario and request a prescription medication in Quebec), your claim may be rejected. Make sure that you tell us if you move to another province.
- If you are eligible for coverage for the service or product under the IFHP, you won’t have to pay for it.
- If you pay a provider for a service or product that is covered by the IFHP, you won’t get any money back.
- If you need a health care service or product that isn’t covered you will have to pay for it.
For more information on how to get health services and products, please have your provider contact the Medavie Contact Centre at 1-888-614-1880.
What is my UCI number?
UCI stands for “unique client identifier.” It is also known as a client identification number (client ID). The UCI is either an eight or ten-digit number, and looks like: 0000-0000 or 00-0000-0000.
This number is located on one of five possible IFHP eligibility documents provided to you by IRCC or CBSA.
How do I obtain a copy of my eligibility document?
Please contact IRCC directly at 1-888-242-2100 for more information on how to obtain a copy of your eligibility document.
I need help with my mental health. Does the Interim Federal Health Program cover it?
Yes. The Interim Federal Health Program provides coverage for mental health services provided by:
- general practitioners/family doctors,
- mental health hospitals and
Family doctors/general practitioners can diagnose and treat some mental health problems. Depending on your situation, they may refer you to other mental health professionals, such as:
- clinical psychologists,
- counselling therapists or
- psychiatrists who specialize in mental health.
When your physician refers you, you are also covered for the mental health services these professionals provide. Mental health professionals can help you improve or maintain your mental health with:
- medication or
- a combination of these options.
Any health care providers you see must be registered with the Interim Federal Health Program. You can locate a registered provider in your area by using the search tool called 'locate a provider' found by clicking here.
My name and/or my date of birth on my eligibility document is wrong. How do I request an update to this information?
Please contact IRCC directly at 1-888-242-2100 for more information on updating your personal information on your certificate.
I would like to update my contact information (i.e., name change, date of birth, address). How do I proceed?
Please contact IRCC directly at 1-888-242-2100 for more information on updating your contact information.
When does my Interim Federal Health Program coverage start and when does it end?
Your Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage starts on the date your eligibility document is issued.
If you made a refugee claim from within Canada
You are eligible for coverage until:
- you withdraw your refugee claim, or
- the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) finds you abandoned your refugee claim, or
- your refugee claim isn’t eligible and you can’t apply for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA), or
- you leave Canada.
Your IFHP coverage will automatically expire 90 days from the decision date if:
- the IRB finds you to be a Convention refugee, or
- you get a positive decision on your PRRA application.
During this time, you must contact the province or territory you live in to find out when you can apply for health coverage. In some provinces, you can apply as soon as you get a positive decision. In these cases, you should apply right away.
If you are a refugee resettled from outside Canada
In Canada, the government of your province or territory covers health services. When you first arrive, it may take some time for you to be covered for these services. Until then, your health care will be covered by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).
The IFHP gives you basic coverage (for example, doctor visits and hospital care) until you become eligible for provincial or territorial health coverage, which typically occurs within 3 months. During this time, you must apply for health insurance from the province or territory where you live.
Supplemental and Prescription Drug Coverage
In most cases, your supplemental and prescription drug coverage will be valid for 12 months from the date you arrive in Canada. If you are still eligible after this, you must apply to extend your IFHP coverage or contact the Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada office in your area.
If there are specific services you are looking to receive, please have your health care provider contact us to determine if you are eligible for a benefit or service. You can also see your eligibility through the Secure Beneficiary Web Portal.
Find out more about who is eligible for the IFHP and the services available to them.
Note: Your coverage can be cancelled without notice if your immigration status changes.
I am covered under the Interim Federal Health Program. Why did my health care provider ask me to sign a form after I was treated?
After you are treated, your health care provider may give you a claim form. You must sign this form to prove you received the health service or product.
If you are eligible for coverage for the service or product under the Interim Federal Health Program, you won’t have to pay for it.
My health care provider is asking me to pay the unpaid balance for my service. Can I get reimbursed?
If you are receiving services from IFHP registered provider, you should not be asked to pay and you should not agree to pay the service or any unpaid balance. Please have the provider contact our Medavie Contact Centre at 1-888-614-1880 for more information regarding the IFHP reimbursement process.
We recommend that before receiving services in the future, you ask whether the service provider participates in the IFHP and whether they agree to send their bill to Medavie Blue Cross directly. You do not have to accept services from providers who do not participate in the program.
Why did I get a letter from Medavie Blue Cross after I had health services that were covered by the Interim Federal Health Program?
You may get a letter from Medavie Blue Cross asking you to confirm if you were given health services or products on a given date.
- answer the question,
- sign the letter, and
- return it to Medavie Blue Cross:
Interim Federal Health Program
Medavie Blue Cross
644 Main St. PO Box 6000
Moncton NB E1C 0P9
This isn’t a bill. This will help to prevent fraud. Signing this letter won’t affect your health coverage or your immigration status.
My health care provider tells me I need an authorization for my service, how do I proceed and what do I need?
Please have the provider contact the Medavie Contact Centre at 1-888-614-1880 for more information regarding authorization requests.
My health care provider has obtained an authorization for my service, but I would like to see someone else, how do I proceed?
Please contact the Medavie Beneficiary Support Center at 1-888-614-1880 and advise them that you are looking to receive services from a different health care provider. A member of our customer care team will be able to assist you with this.
How can I find out if my claim has been paid?
This information can be found by viewing your claim history through the Secure Beneficiary Web Portal, or by contacting the Medavie Beneficiary Support Center at 1-888-614-1880.
What type of information can I find on the Secure Beneficiary Web Portal?
By subscribing to the Secure Beneficiary Web Portal, you’ll have access to view the following information:
- confirm your eligibility status
- view available services
- submit inquiries related to IFHP coverage
- locate IFHP service providers
- designate Beneficiary Support Representatives
- access the Medavie IFHP Beneficiary Handbook
Find out up to date information about the IFHP by subscribing to automatic email notifications.
How do I sign up for the Secure Beneficiary Web Portal?
To take advantage of the Secure Beneficiary Web Portal, please click here and click on “Register”.
All you need to get started is access to the internet, a valid email address and your Unique Client Identification (UCI) number. The UCI number is found on your IFHP eligibility document.
What can I do if I see in the Secure Beneficiary Web Portal that my IFHP coverage is going to expire soon?
Eligibility to the IFHP is determined by an IRCC Officer at an inland office or by a CBSA Agent at a port of entry after an interview with the refugee or refugee claimant. Only IRCC and CBSA officers can determine eligibility for the IFHP.
If you are Refugee Claimant: Your refugee status may have recently changed. You may be still eligible for the IFHP under another eligibility group. If you see that your eligibility is set to expire, please contact IRCC directly at 1-888-242-2100.
Note: A refugee claimant is a person who has fled their country and is asking for protection in another country.
If you are Resettled Refugee: Your eligibility for IFHP coverage will expire 1 year from the date you have arrived in Canada.
Note: A resettle refugee is a person who has fled their country, is temporarily in a second country and then is offered a permanent home in a third country. Refugees resettled to Canada are selected abroad and become permanent residents as soon as they arrive in Canada.
For more information about eligibility to the IFHP, please visit the IRCC IFHP website or contact the IRCC contact IRCC directly at 1-888-242-2100.
Why is the Beneficiary Secure Web Portal not working?
For best performance, please ensure you are using a supported browser:
- Google Chrome (latest version)
- Firefox (latest version)
- Edge (latest version)
- Safari (latest version)
If you continue having issues with the Beneficiary Secure Web Portal, please contact the Medavie Beneficiary Support Center at 1-888-614-1880 and a member of our customer care team will be able to assist you.
Do I have to get certain vaccinations before I arrive in Canada?
No, you do not have to get certain vaccinations. The pre-departure vaccination services offered through the IFHP are voluntary.
If a panel physician associated with the International Organization for Migration does your immigration medical exam, they may offer you vaccines to update your immunization status before you arrive in Canada. If you choose to get vaccinated overseas, you should bring your vaccination record to Canada.
Who do I contact if I have a question?
If you have a question and you are not sure where to direct it, please see the following table:
- IRCC Contact Centre at 1-888-242-2100
- Eligibility documents
- Questions about IFHP eligibility status and validity period
- Questions about your refugee application status
- Medavie Blue Cross Contact Centre at 1-888-614-1880
- Questions about a benefit’s eligibility
- Confirmation of a claim payment or pre-approval of a benefit
- Finding a health care provider
Interim Federal Health Program – Health care providers in Canada
How do I register as a health care provider with the Interim Federal Health Program in Canada?
You can register to become a health care provider with the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) online or on paper. For detailed instructions on how to register, call Medavie Blue Cross at 1-888-614-1880.
Note: Pharmacies must register to become IFHP providers by calling 1-888-614-1880. Once registered, pharmacies must contact their software vendors to update their carrier codes so that IFHP pharmacy claims can be submitted electronically to Medavie Blue Cross.
Each new registered provider will receive a complete kit including:
- welcome letter,
- claim forms,
- direct deposit request form,
- benefit grids, and
- the IFHP Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals.
I am an IFHP registered provider in Canada. How do I check patient eligibility for the Interim Federal Health Program?
To check your patient’s eligibility for the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) before you provide a service:
1. Ask for their eligibility document. This could be
- Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD) (with photo)
- Temporary Document for Lost/Stolen Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD)
- Interim Federal Health Program Certificate (IFHC) (With or Without a Photo)
- Acknowledgement of Claim form (AOC)
You can also see examples of IFHP eligibility documents in the IFHP Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals.
2. Confirm their identity with:
- an immigration document that has a photo
- a government-issued identification that has a photo
3. Check their eligibility for IFHP using their identification number (the 8 to 10 digit number on their eligibility document) and by either
- calling Medavie Blue Cross
- logging into the IFHP Secure Provider Web Portal
If you have questions about the types of benefits and services covered, you can also contact Medavie Blue Cross by:
- email: CIC_Inquiry@medavie.bluecross.ca
- fax: 506-867-3841
How do I register for the Secure Provider Web Portal?
To take advantage of the Secure Provider Portal (ePay), please visit medaviebc.ca/health-professionals and click on “Register Now” All you will need is access to the Internet. Medavie Blue Cross does not require any special software for accessing the ePay Service nor is it designed to be integrated with a practice management or accounting software.
The ePay service will be compatible with the following internet browsers:
- Google Chrome (latest version)
- Firefox (latest version)
- Edge (latest version)
- Safari (latest version)
On the Secure Provider Web Portal, what type of information can I find and what can I do?
Medavie Blue Cross offers approved health care providers the advantage of signing up to the Secure Provider Web Portal called ePay. With ePay, health care providers can electronically submit their claims directly to us for reimbursement. You’ll also be able to:
- Easily keep track of your claims
- Have access to your payment summaries
- Submit pre-authorization/pre-determinations to confirm beneficiary eligibility
In addition, unless Medavie Blue Cross is advised otherwise, your contact information will be added to the list of IFHP providers, which beneficiaries can search by using the search tool by clicking here.
How long does it take for a patient’s Interim Federal Health Program eligibility to show in the Medavie Blue Cross system?
It takes two business days for our system to show if a patient is eligible. Patients are still eligible during this period. All Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) beneficiaries are eligible for coverage starting on the date their IFHP eligibility document is issued.
In cases where an IFHP beneficiary is requesting services within two (2) business days of the “effective date” indicated on the IFHP eligibility documents, providers are asked to:
- review the “effective date” on the certificate to confirm that it is within the two business day period;
- render the service/product and delay the submission of the invoice to Medavie Blue Cross until the coverage has been updated in their system (i.e. 2-3 business days).
For additional information or enquiries related to this, please contact the Medavie Contact Centre at 1-888-614-1880 for assistance.
Does the Interim Federal Health Program provide coverage for mental health services?
Yes. The IFHP Basic Coverage covers:
- mental health services provided by physicians (such as psychiatrists, general or family practitioners), or
- services provided by mental health hospitals.
The IFHP also covers mental health services provided by allied health professionals (such as clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, or counselling therapists) under the IFHP Supplemental Coverage. To become an IFHP registered provider, allied health professionals must be licensed in the province or territory in which they practice with their provincial or territorial licensing body.
- The IFHP does not require prior approval for the services provided by physicians or mental health hospitals.
- Medavie Blue Cross requires prior approval for mental health services provided by allied health professionals.
What is the prior approval criteria for mental health services provided by allied professionals?
Prior approval requests must be accompanied by:
- A letter from a physician that indicates the diagnosis and referral for assessment / psychotherapy / counselling therapy and
- the Initial Assessment report, or
- Progress Assessment report (requests for a treatment extension)
The Initial Assessment can be conducted upon referral from a physician and must include a:
- clinical interview,
- brief psychometric screening (where appropriate) and
- a report to the IFHP indicating a treatment plan and expected duration of treatment (if applicable).
This assessment can be billed to a maximum of 4 hours. The provider should not proceed with further treatment until they get prior approval.
For more information, refer to the IFHP Supplemental Benefit Grid.
How many counselling sessions are beneficiaries entitled to once prior approval is received?
The IFHP will initially approve up to 10 one-hour sessions, not including the initial assessment. If more treatment is needed, providers can submit a request to the IFHP. It must be accompanied by a physician’s recommendation for more sessions. A discharge summary report must be submitted to both the referring physician and IFHP once treatment is completed.
The IFHP does not cover group psychotherapy sessions or the following services:
- Psycho-educational assessments
- Life skills training
- Expressive arts therapy
- Sex therapy
Does the Interim Federal Health Program cover interpretation services for mental health therapy?
If interpretation is needed during the treatment/counselling, the IFHP will reimburse $28.95/per hour for interpretation services (i.e., for 10 hours of therapy IFHP will reimburse 10 hours of interpretation services)
Interpreters must be registered with the IFHP to be reimbursed for their services.
What are the fee rates paid to health care providers with the Interim Federal Health Program?
Rates for services/products provided are in line with:
- provincial/territorial health insurance rates (where applicable),
- usual or customary fees for a given service (where applicable), or
- standard Interim Federal Health Program rates.
The IFHP Benefit Grids list the services and products covered. Benefits are subject to limits and maximum dollar amounts, and some benefits require special authorization from Medavie Blue Cross.
For more information, please consult the IFHP Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals.
As a health care provider, can I ask Interim Federal Health Program beneficiaries to pay for a service?
No. Health care providers may not charge the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) beneficiaries for covered services.
For more information on the IFHP, see the Medavie Blue Cross guides:
Does the Interim Federal Health Program offer co-payment arrangements with other insurance plans or programs?
No. The IFHP is a payer of last resort, meaning that it provides benefits to those who lack public health insurance or comprehensive private health insurance.
The IFHP does not cover the cost of health care services or products that a person may claim (even in part) under a public or private health insurance plan. The IFHP does not coordinate benefits with other insurance plans/programs so co-payments aren’t possible.
How will I be reimbursed for IFHP eligible services?
Medavie Blue Cross agrees to make payment to the provider or an assignee (in cases where payment has been assigned to a third party) every second week for the eligible amount due for claims received and adjudicated during the relevant claim period. The payment, together with the explanation of benefit summary is available to provider electronically and should a provider not have access electronically, they can receive a mailed version.
If a provider wishes to use direct deposit, a registration form may be printed from the Secure Provider Web Portal at secure.medavie.bluecross.ca/eai/login.
How soon I will be reimbursed for a submitted claim?
A payment schedule is published on the Secure Provider Web Portal, each year, identifying all scheduled payment dates. You can also contact the Medavie Contact Centre at 1-888-614-1880 for further information on payment schedule.
Interim Federal Health Program – Health care providers outside Canada (PDMS Providers)
Can I register with the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) as a pre-departure medical services health care provider?
You can register as an IFHP pre-departure medical services provider if you are a:
- IRCC panel physician or
- IRCC panel radiologist or
- certified secondary care provider (such as a hospital or facility) that provides services to refugees overseas
Registration with IFHP is based on your:
- scope of clinical practice
- affiliation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- panel membership status.
For more information, consult the IFHP PDMS Provider Website.
How do I register as a health care provider with the Interim Federal Health Program outside of Canada?
Please be advised that overseas providers who offer Pre-Departure Medical Services can express their interest to provide PDMS services covered by IFHP to IRCC. IRCC will arrange their registration with Medavie and confirm it to the provider.
How do I check that a patient is eligible for pre-departure medical coverage?
To ensure you will be reimbursed, you must check the eligibility status of each Interim Federal Health Program beneficiary before you provide any services.
If you are affiliated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), you will have beneficiary eligibility confirmed by the IRCC visa office. To confirm beneficiary eligibility, you must:
- Confirm that the beneficiary's name appears on the list received from visa offices (if applicable, and keep a copy).
- Confirm that the identity of the person matches the person in the identification document; and
- Using the beneficiary's IMM 1017 Form, confirm the 'IMM Type' is: 'Ref - Overseas'.
- IOM can also verify this designation using eMedical.
If you are not affiliated with the IOM, you must:
- Confirm that the beneficiary has an Interim Federal Health Certificate.
- Confirm that the identity of the person on the Interim Federal Health Certificate matches the person in the identification document.
- Keep a photocopy of the beneficiary's Interim Federal Health Certificate in their records.
For services to be reimbursed, as a non-IOM affiliated provider you must attach a copy of the beneficiary's Interim Federal Health Certificate to claims sent to Medavie Blue Cross at the following address
Interim Federal Health Program
Medavie Blue Cross
644 Main St. PO Box 6000
Moncton NB E1C 0P9
Can I provide pre-departure vaccination services covered by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)?
If you are a panel physician affiliated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), you can provide vaccination services covered by the IFHP to eligible beneficiaries.
Immunizations can only be provided in countries where IOM has the capacity to deliver vaccinations. The IFHP has developed instructions for the delivery of vaccination services, including:
- standard operating procedures
- vaccination schedules
- consent forms
- documentation worksheets
What are the fee rates paid to health care providers registered with the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) who deliver pre-departure medical services?
Rates for services/products provided are in line with the usual or customary fees for a given service or product (where applicable) and as approved by the IFHP.
Certain services and products covered by the IFHP need prior approval to confirm clinical and/or administrative criteria. Benefits are subject to limits and maximum dollar amounts as determined by IFHP.
Consult the IFHP pre-departure medical services benefit grid or the IFHP Information Handbook for Pre-Departure Medical Services Providers.
As a registered pre-departure medical services provider, can I ask eligible beneficiaries to pay for services covered by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)?
No, you cannot charge eligible beneficiaries for services covered by the IFHP.