Lifestyle

Cost of Living in Canada: How Much Do You Spend on Giving Birth

Since my baby is about to turn 1 year old, I have been thinking of blogging about this specific topic that my husband and I experienced last year. I will tackle from preparation of my labor up to going home from the hospital.

Giving birth to a baby is part of the health care service provided by a team of health care professionals in a health care institution setting. Basically, it gets into a family’s cost of living under medical expenses. That is why people from where I came from (Philippines) typically save up and prepare for it and its upcoming costs.

In Canada, how much do you have to pay for the doctor’s service? How much do you get charged for your entire hospital stay? They say that health care in Canada is FREE. I say it’s not. Then you might ask me, why do you don’t take out cash whenever you go see a doctor or whenever you get diagnostic imaging or a blood test?

I think of the Canadian healthcare system as a pre-paid basis – the health card is equivalent to a debit card that you swipe whenever you need medical attention as long as the card is valid. Every year, most Canadians file their taxes from March to April. And THAT is the exact time Canadians have paid their health care expenses in advance! Basically, Canada’s publicly funded health insurance is universal coverage for medically necessary health care services.

“Medically necessary” means you don’t get charged if you are in the hospital for the reconstruction of your broken nose due to accident, but I believe it will be a different story if you wanted restoration of your face to remove facial scars for cosmetic purposes.

Cost of Living in Canada Series: Childbirth Expenses

Graphic linking to Pinterest. Image of baby and Canadian flag with text 'Cost of Living in Canada: How Much Do You Spend on Childbirth.

My husband badly wanted to attend prenatal classes for first-time parents in preparation for my labor and delivery, as well as for taking care of the baby. At first, I was surprised at how eager he wanted to do it. Second, I was questioning myself if I needed it despite me having a medical background. But anyhow, I felt I think it will be a good experience between the two of us. So I said, “Yes, let’s do it!”. Now, that is the first expense for this topic: Prenatal Class: $120 (couple rate).

I would not go deeper into how was our prenatal class, but if you will ask, I can describe it in 3 words: Engaging, Informative and Fun! This is mostly because I think we had an amazing instructor and her name is Ms. Effie Pallotta.

Going into labor, I spent more than a day experiencing those abdominal contractions starting from mild to intense ones. Upon admission to the maternity unit, my husband just showed my health card and paid $0. I gave birth at midnight and was monitored together with the baby the following day. On the morning of day 2, the nurse told me that we could go home that day. My husband updated my records by showing his company’s medical insurance just so in case something isn’t covered by the government’s health insurance, the company’s medical insurance get charged first before us. We were then discharged and we were never asked to pay anything.

A few months later, my husband checked his company’s medical insurance and noted that they paid for a certain amount due to the usage of a private room. Patients get to be admitted in ward for free of charge, but you can get free upgrades if your company’s medical insurance covers it. In our case, we can upgrade for free to a semi-private room. But since we took a private room, we have to pay the remaining balance of upgrading from semi-private to private room, which was not covered by the company’s medical insurance.

I gave birth July 2018 and I only get to remember giving the hospital a call to confirm the balance by January 2019, few months after my husband’s discovery of the amount charged to his company’s medical insurance was not enough for the private room rate. At the end of the day, I paid $40 over the phone to the hospital.

What else do you have to consider in terms of expenses during your hospital stay? Parking fees and hospital cafeteria food for your caretaker.

Are you also living in Canada right now? Did you pay for something that was not mentioned here? Post it down on the comment section!

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