NEWS

Pregnant Peruvian woman gets Ontario health card

04/04/2013 10:12 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 05:12 EDT
A pregnant Peruvian woman set to give birth in less than a month will receive a new health card a few months after the Ontario government cancelled it due to a change in her working visa.

Rosa Callalli, a 33-year-old Peruvian immigrant, came to CBC News after she was denied health care coverage due to some confusion with her visa.

But the office of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne helped facilitate a new health card for Callalli on Thursday morning.

She is expected to receive the card in two weeks, but she has a temporary card number in the meantime.

Callalli started working in Canada on a legal visa in 2008 as a live-in caregiver. In January, she had her visa extended to 2017 and it was changed to an "open working visa."

That is when she said officials with Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care cancelled her coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

Callalli, who is set to give birth to her first child, was told a hospital delivery could cost in the range of $20,000, if there are no complications. She would have had to pay that cost up front.

Miscarriage last year

This was especially painful and worrisome, since Callalli said she had a miscarriage last year.

According to officials with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Callalli's paperwork checked out. CIC spokeswoman Nancy Caron said Callalli had enough proof of documentation to renew her OHIP coverage, which would be a work permit and proof of full-time employment in Ontario.

Callalli's employer also provided the required letter to prove her full-time employment, so Caron said she could not see why Callalli lost her health insurance coverage. Callalli pays Ontario and federal taxes, and also makes Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance payments.

Callalli said she considered flying home to Peru to give birth, which would be less expensive, but her doctor told her she should not fly.

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