How to get prenatal care in Canada w/o insurance? (A COVID clusterf*ck)
April 10, 2020 9:40 PM   Subscribe

As a non-resident Canadian who unexpectedly needs to move back to Canada for a few months while pregnant, how do I get prenatal care if my provincial health insurance is no longer valid?

I am a Canadian citizen, who temporarily moved to the US about 2 years ago for my husband's job. My husband will be wrapping up this job at the end of May, and we were going to move to the UK at the start of June. However, my UK visa is in limbo because the relevant issuing agencies have been shut down due to the global pandemic. I have no information on when processing would resume, but I'm not very optimistic that it would get sorted by the end of May.

Once my husband's job is over, he will lose both his work visa status in the US, as well as his health insurance, which is also my health insurance. (Husband is an EU citizen.) I am currently pregnant, at the end of the first trimester. For these reasons, we are thinking that it might be best to return to Canada in June to wait out the UK visa issue.

Prior to moving to the US, I had lived in Ontario for a decade. However, my OHIP coverage has lapsed, and I don't think I'd qualify for renewal because I can't demonstrate residency over the past 2 years. I hear that currently, expired OHIP cards are being accepted and the 3-month waiting period is being waived due to covid-19, but I don't know if that will still be the case come June/July.

My question is: how can I get prenatal care while I'm in Canada without OHIP? I know midwives provide some prenatal services (assuming I could even find one this late in the game), but can they do blood work and ultrasounds? If not, how much would these things cost out of pocket? (Additional challenge: I will be in my late 30s at delivery, and so may be considered high risk. I don't currently have any other complications or pre-existing conditions.)

The unknown-duration-of-stay in Canada is also hard for me to wrap my head around. If I knew we'd be moving back for a year, we would just sign an apartment lease and show intent to reside. But because I don't know if the UK visa delay would keep us in Ontario for 1 month, or 3 months, or past my due date... I don't know the best way to approach it. (I'm picking Ontario as my default province, because it's familiar, and my employer and social network are there. But I'm open to other provinces in theory.)

I would really appreciate any advice or guidance anyone can offer. I realize my situation is a lot better than many others, so I feel a bit bad at how bad I feel about it, but it is a really scary time to deal not knowing where we'll live, and facing the possibility of not getting the right care for this little thing growing inside me (or paying thousands and thousands of dollars for the privilege). Thank you in advance!
posted by Sockmaster to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes Midwives in Ontario order blood work, prescriptions, and ultrasounds; they are primary care providers. I believe the out of pocket costs for both are pretty reasonable, about $300 for the ultrasound and less than $100 for bloodwork. The bigger thing is that Midwives are paid per “course of care”. So if they don’t participate in catching your baby they don’t get paid. If they spend six months looking after you and then you move to the UK they don’t get paid for those appointments, and they aren’t hugely over paid rn, so that would be a big chunck of the Midwives annual salary gone, which seems unfair.
posted by saucysault at 10:40 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

This page may answer some of your questions. There’s a PDF link on that page discussing tests.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:55 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I’m also a Canadian citizen living abroad. I researched this last year (though didn’t end up needing to take action). Quebec’s three-month waiting period is waived when the medical treatments and visits are for pregnancy and childbirth. Ontario may have a similar waiver.

Relevant link from the RAMQ:
posted by third word on a random page at 11:58 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

FWIW OHIP has currently waived the 3 month waiting period during the pandemic.
posted by quaking fajita at 6:12 AM on April 11, 2020

You're covered due to waiver. For your husband you can buy "Visitor to Canada" health insurance for about $300/mo. While still in the US, you can use COBRA.
posted by dum spiro spero at 9:47 AM on April 11, 2020

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