Ted Flemming - custom

Health Minister Ted Flemming announced the medicare coverage changes for travellers in the legislature on Friday. (CBC)

The Alward government has increased the length of time New Brunswick residents can be outside the province but still qualify for medicare to seven months.

Up until now, New Brunswickers would lose their medical coverage if they were gone more than 182 days.

Under the changes announced by Health Minister Ted Flemming on Friday, the new limit is 212 days.

The extension is for vacation and visiting purposes and does not apply to business travel.

“Extending coverage should provide additional security and peace of mind for residents," Flemming said in a statement.

Travellers should contact Medicare with their dates of travel to maintain their coverage, he said.

If a New Brunswicker requires medical treatment outside the province, but within Canada, medicare will cover the cost of any insured service, said Flemming.

Out-of-country costs are not covered, except for emergencies, at a maximum cost of $100 per day.

Other provinces have introduced similar changes, including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Ontario.