(Closed) The difference between being pregnant in the US and being pregnant in Canada

posted 8 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 17
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1621 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@GlitteryVegas:  I can say from personal knowledge that ER docs and nurses get super annoyed that people come into the ER with non-emergency concerns and make them wait extra long.  But I’m sure that doesn’t play a major role in wait times. 

It’s true, my brother was once on a stretcher in a HALL of the ER for 2 days until they had a room for him.  Did he get great medical care? Yes.  Did he have any privacy or rest? No.  So that’s for sure way off “ideal”.

As I said before, both systems have flaws but I’d still take universal health care any day.

Post # 18
Member
99 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

This is a very interesting thread.  I’m in the US and while I’ll just be 8w1d pregnant at my first appt on Tuesday- which is okay by me as I feel all is going well 🙂 , I’ve had previous issues with healthcare in the US. 

While I was a student at my University for my teaching credential I had no healthcare provided by them I had to buy my own premium.  It was an AWFUL insurance but the only thing that would take me at the time.  $110 a month with a $5,000 deductible- and only 4 regular doctor visits a year.  Murphy’s Law: I had an accident that year and had to go to the ER for a split open chin, CT scan and some stitches.  The cost for 5 hours of care and an ambulance ride… $15,000 dollars.  $10k was paid through my insurance- I was left with the $5,000 deductible.  As a student teacher that year with a part-time job I only made $10,000 that year.  Thankfully my letters of appeal were heard and I received charity care through the hospital to help cover the costs.  BUT if I had gone into the hospital without insurance- I would’ve been able to qualify for charity care without having to write appeals- I was denied at first because I had insurance, even though it was inadequate and I felt I was doing the right thing by having insurance.  Ironically, my part time job was in an emergency room as a financial counselor and I helped patients fill out those forms for charity care.

I don’t know which country has it better regarding health care but it can be damn frustrating for both sides.  Sorry I went off on a healthcare tangent… 😛

Post # 19
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898 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

In Canada, do they have the elective ultrasound places?  If so, if people want an ultrasound earlier than 12 weeks, can they go to one?

 

 

Post # 20
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898 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

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@CanAmBride:  Do you mind explaning a bit more about how your husband was paying 50% on taxes plus a 14 % province tax?  My husband’s family lives in Canada (Ontario) as well, and they don’t pay that.  We were musing one day that their taxes are only about 8% higher than my husband and mine here in the US.

Tax rates for the US (federal tax only):

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/2013-tax-brackets

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html (federal plus province).

Did you husband live in Nova Scotia and make more than $150,000 a year?  That would make a tax rate of 51% total.  My husband’s family makes maybe $150,000 a year together, which in Ontario would makes their federal+province tax somewhere around 40% a year.

DH and I are in the 33% tax bracket for federal taxes, plus another 4.4% state tax, plus another 4% NYC city tax.  

Wait….I just realized that DH and I pay the SAME tax rate as his canadian family…but we don’t get universal health care OR a year long mat leave.  WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA

 

Post # 21
Member
1137 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

We weren’t married so we didn’t do joint taxes, but I take his word that it was “around 50%”.

He was in the highest tax bracket, and owns his own business so I know he also paid business taxes, property taxes on his buildings, and taxes on his investment dividends. 

We do pay a lot of US tax as well, but it only amounts to around 35% of our income tax, and our mortgage interest and business expenses are tax deductable. If you include the fact that the sales tax is only 6% in our state, we are paying MUCH less tax than if we lived in Canada.

We are also lucky because my employer offers very good health insurance at only $25/month with a very low deductable. So we are saving significantly and have great access to health care.

Again, not saying the US system is better. We are in a fortunate situation that I realize most people are not in.

Post # 22
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4354 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

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@rachiebabie:  For Ontario (where I live) …

“A pregnant employee is entitled to pregnancy leave whether she is a full-time, part-time, permanent or contract employee provided that she: works for an employer that is covered by the ESA, and was hired at least 13 weeks before the date her baby is expected to be born (the “due date”).”

They also have this note listed: “Note that an employee does not have to actively work the 13 weeks prior to the due date to be eligible for pregnancy leave. It is only necessary that she be hired at least 13 weeks before the baby is expected to be born”.

So only 13 weeks here for the pregnancy part of the leave which is the first 17 weeks then the mom or dad can take the remainder as parental leave.

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@BookGirrl:  Yes we do. Most of them are for the 3D scanning purposes but I’m sure you can seek out a regular ultrasound too out of pocket. Lots of doctors will order a scan before 12 weeks though for dating purposes or if there’s been cramping/bleeding. My doctor had me get one at 6 weeks to date the pregnancy, it’s up to each doctor to make that call.

Post # 23
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68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

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@rachiebabie:  I thought it was 3 months, but it looks like if you work 40 hours/week you are entitled after approx 4 months (600 hours). I imagine this is because it is the gov’t giving out the funds, not the actual employer. 

Source: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/ei/types/maternity_parental.shtml#eligible

Are you eligible for EI maternity or parental benefits?

You may be eligible to receive EI maternity or parental benefits if:

  • you have paid EI premiums;
  • you meet the specific criteria for receiving EI maternity or parental benefits;
  • your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40%; and
  • you have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period or, if you are a self-employed fisher, you have earned enough money during the qualifying period.

 CanAmBride: I get a bill every month for medical, it’s called Medical Services Plan.   I’m sure some of our tax funds are used for medical, but we all pay into it in B.C. every month.  They do offer a sliding scale for those people who struggle financially or who are going to school, etc.so it’s not necessarily the same cost for everyone, but it balances out I think. 

cdncinnamongirl: I completely agree with you – there are so many circumstances of people going to the ER when it’s not necessary (could be handled by a family doctor perhaps) that it is difficult to get treatment and beds for those that need it immediately. I feel very fortunate that when I suffered a very serious burn my ER took me right away.  Overall, I think we are very lucky to live in a place where we can access good health care at a reasonable price.  

Post # 24
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2861 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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@CanAmBride:  I’d like to live where you live. I have never, EVER seen an ER doctor in 30 mins. Even with a broken bone I had to wait hours. I’m glad you like the US health system so much but some of the things you are saying don’t really ring true.

Post # 25
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413 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@BookGirrl:  There are lots of private clinics that do elective and early ultrasounds. There’s been some recent news stories about people using it for gender selection. But people also use them for 3D scans, etc.

Post # 26
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1621 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@BookGirrl:  Lots of women have ultrasounds before 12 weeks and they would need to be seen by a doctor or midwife to get that ultrasound (unless, say, they had bleeding so early they hadn’t yet seen their GP or midwife and went to the ER).

But yes, you could have as many ultrasounds as you want if you want to pay for them. People who don’t have universal health care yet (e.g. brand new immigrants need a 3 month wait-period before they get coverage) just have any tests/ultrasounds/appointments that they need but have to pay out of pocket.

Pregnant women in Ontario are seen by their GP or midwife by 8 weeks or so.

ETA: just to clarify, there are 2 kinds of ultrasound clinics: “medical” and “3D”.  3d ultrasound clinics in the community are purely elective and “entertainment”.  They are not in any way medically related and the techs there may not even be trained.  There are some higher centre hospitals that have 3D u’s to check for cleft lip etc if there’s a high risk of that.  “Regular” medical ultrasound clinics require a referral from a doctor or midwife to have an ultrasound but I suppose if you convinced your care provider that you wanted another ultrasound that wasn’t medically indicated they may order it for you but you’d have to pay.  But at these regular clinics, you can’t just walk in and get and pay for an ultrasound.

Post # 27
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1227 posts
Bumble bee

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@CanAmBride:  “I have seen first had many examples of how socialized health care is inadequate. My DH was shocked when he saw how much access to health care professionals our insurance provided that he would never have had under his OHIP system.”

Oh, I love threads like this.

Let me give you some examples:

1) A friend was sailing with us in preparation for a long distance ocean race. We came into the dock, and he experienced chest pains. I proceeded to provide first aid, and withing 10 minutes, paramedics were there treating him.  I went with him to the hospital, where he was immediately taken into a room. I found his wife, passed off to her, and left. He stayed in ICU for 3 days. At 2am (within 4 hours of arriving at the hospital, he was in the cath lab). He was discharged about 5 days after he went in. No money out of pocket. Didn’t have to sell their house, or fork out for expensive co-pays. He would tell you his experience and care was wonderful

2) A good friend was experiencing stomach troubles, and had been sent for an ultrasound. Ultrasound detected large masses on her ovaries. Within a week she was seen by a gynecologist oncologist. MRI within 2 days. Within 3 weeks, she had surgery, and is currently feeling better than she ever has. Didn’t even require chemo or radiation. She is followed up on every 6 months for 5 years. Didn’t have to sell her house. No expensive co-pays. She couldn’t be happier with her experience.

3) At the same time as #2, an acquaintance who had a history of throat cancer, went for a routine follow up on a Monday. Tuesday he had a biopsy. Wednesday he had a catscan. Friday he had about a 1/4 of his face removed. Since November, he’s also had reconstructive plastic surgery, and intensive therapy to regain his speech. He didn’t have to sell his house or boat. No expensive co-pays. He is extremly satisfied with the care he’s recieved.

4) My Future Mother-In-Law has been anemic all of her life, but over the last 2 years has experienced significant issues with her hemo levels.  At least 4 times, we’ve taken her to the ER. She is ALWAYS seen and assessed quickly. She is ALWAYS put in a private room, and given 1 or 2 units of blood. She has undergone more tests than I can count (there are other health issues as well). She gets regular infusions of iron. She pays none of this out of pocket. WE haven’t had to move her in with us because she had to sell her house, nor have we had to sell our boat to pay for her care. While she is clearly frustrated with the fact she has these health issues, the care she receives is excellent.

 

I have NEVER had to wait more than 2 days to see my family doctor (and it is never urgent–simply for Rx refills). I have waited a few hours in ERs when I’ve required stiches on a couple of occassions, but that’s cool. I don’t expect them to drop everything to sew me back up.  I also have never put off having something looked at by a professional because I couldn’t afford to pay to see a doctor, only to have it turn into something much worse and life threatening (as happened to a US acquaintance of mine, who regrettably passed away at 43 from colon cancer last April).

So while I have no doubt that US care is exceptional for the few who can afford the best, the idea that the care in Canada is any less exceptional (that we have poorer outcomes, exceedingly long wait times, outdated technology, etc) is false.  

Post # 28
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826 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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@CanAmBride:  

It took them 3 hours to get him a bed and 10 hours before he saw a Dr. In the US, you see an ER Dr in less than 30 minutes.

Post # 29
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9050 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

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@Sea_bass:  I was surprised by this as well.  I went to my GP to advise him that I was pregnant, and he referred me to an OB, and I had an introductory appointment with them at 9 weeks where we talked about what we were going to do.  And at that point, nobody had even required me to even pee on a stick in their office, nevermind requesting bloodwork or an ultrasound to confirm.  It’s not standard to do an ultrasound until 18 weeks, and the bloodwork they sent me for at 9 weeks was more screening for STD’s, insulin levels and such.

Also, it seems like more procedures are done AT the OB office in the states?  My doctor sends me to a standalone lab for bloodwork and ultrasounds.

Post # 30
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1621 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@SapphireSun:  I assume you’re in Canada, like I am.  Care differs GP to GP, of course.  Several I work with do the full prenatal bloodwork, a Pap and vaginal swabs and book an ultrasound before I see the woman at 8 weeks.  Some don’t, assuming (not incorrectly) that I’ll do those things at 8 weeks.  And yes, unless you’ve had a prior miscarriage or there’s bleeding or suspicion of an ectopic pregnancy, bHCG levels aren’t really routinely done.  Why would they be? We assume a woman has confirmed her pregnancy before coming to the appointment with an at-home test, which these days is just as accurate as bloodwork.  So if a woman has peed on a stick and there’s no other reason to do bHCG most practioners just wouldn’t do a medically unnecessary test.

I will say, though, that the SOGC recommends routine first trimester ultrasound and in most larger communities that is the standard of care, either for dating purposes or Integrated Prenatal Screening. Very very few woman I come across haven’t had an ultraosound before the 18 week anatomical scan.  No scan until 18 weeks is definitely not routine.

p.s. I’ve made the same observations about in-office procedures/tests being much more common in the US….from what I’ve been told in Canada we have regulations/standards that limit or prevent this to reduce “double dipping” ie. a doctor sees a patient and orders a test (gets paid) and then does the test themselves (gets paid).  That kind of set-up is hugely risky for practioners to order unneccesary tests, whether knowingly as a cash-grab, or unconsciously.

Post # 31
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1102 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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@MsHeatFan:  I know when I get pregnant and go on ‘mat leave’ it will be up to a year of UNPAID leave. Some businesses do offer to pay a certain percent of an employees wages on mat leave but not every employer does this.

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