Today our Canadian mummy blogger Chelsea writes about the cost of giving birth in her province of Ontario, where they are lucky enough to have a system similar to the NHS in the UK.
By Chelsea Lemire
Here in Canada, we boast about many things (Tim Hortons and igloos, anyone?), but one of the best things about our beautiful country is our health care coverage.
Note: Because I live in the province of Ontario, I will be discussing the costs of a birth within the province.
About a week before my son was born, I was in and out of the maternity ward practically everyday with what felt to be true labour. I was admitted, put on a heart and fetal monitor, examined several times, and ultimately sent home.
When his due date came, I was induced at one hospital, where the induction was soon stopped, sent to another hospital, spent the night, had my water broken, and was induced once again. Once my son was finally brought in to the world, we both stayed in the hospital for both nights, and the afternoon that we were able to go home, the doctor administered blood tests.
How much did all of this cost us? Not a cent.
The average price of a vaginal birth in the United States is approximately $18,000. Ceseareans priced out at an average of $27,000. Though many citizens have some sort of health insurance, they still pay a significant amount out of their own pocket.
In Ontario, pretty well every citizen is covered by the “Ontario Health Insurance Plan” (OHIP). In order to be eligible, one must meet the following criteria:
-Be a permanent Canadian Citizen
-Be present in Ontario for at least 153 days of the year
-Have your primary place of residence in Ontario
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
If you were to immigrate to Canada and chose to live permanently in Ontario, your OHIP coverage would become effective three months after applying.
OHIP is used to cover hospital and doctor visits, as well as many surgeries, and 1 eye appointment annually for people 20 and under, and 65 and over. It does not cover the cost of prescriptions and medications, or most physiotherapy. Many employers offer a drug benefit program, which helps cover costs that OHIP does not. There are other forms of assistance for people in need, such as full drug benefits for people on Ontario Works (social assistance), and the Ontario Trillium Benefit for low-income families.
Every working citizen pays in by way of taxes in order to receive the coverage, but even one trip to the doctor costs more than what you pay in taxes for the whole year.
As I mentioned before, I didn’t have to pay a penny for my actual hospital stay when my son was born, but there were a few optional features that did cost extra, such as a private room, a telephone, and a television, which were still reasonably priced- the television was a mere seven dollars a day.
A private room costed $250 per night, but many people are more than willing to dish out the extra money for the privacy.
My personal experience went as such: I was in a semi-private room, but I was the only one there. The morning of the birth, I was moved to a private delivery room suite, which had a beautiful, spacious bathroom with a jet tub, a mini kitchen with a fridge and microwave, and lots of seating areas for visitors. Once our baby was born, we were moved to another semi-private room, but there was still just me. The only thing we paid for was the television.
Healthcare is different in every area, so ensure you know what is covered where you are living.