Last week a major announcement reached Canadian doulas. Sun Life, the #1 insurance provider in Canada, approved the use of doulas as a reimbursable service to clients. This is a huge step forward in the red tape to get doulas covered through third party reimbursement.
What does this mean for you?
If you are currently covered through a Health Spending Account with Sun Life, you can apply to have my doula support services covered, either partially or fully. As the process and coverage can vary between employers, this will be dealt with by Sun Life on an individual basis. The only doulas who have been approved for this coverage are DONA-approved, so if you are thinking of going with a doula other than myself, please check to confirm their certification and current membership with DONA by going to dona.org.
What if I'm covered by a different plan or company?
At this point, members of DONA's third party reimbursement committee have been successful with Sun Life. However, they will be working with the other large insurance providers across Canada, and with any luck, other providers will soon provide coverage as well.
Can I apply retroactively for previous doula services?
It's doubtful, but I would recommend sending in any invoices for previously paid doula services in to your insurance company - you never know! The more claims that are processed (or even just sent it) to extended health plans, the more likely these companies are to agree to third party reimbursement in the near future. But do make sure that your doula is a DONA-approved birth or postpartum doula first.
Twenty years ago, midwives became a regulated profession in the province of Ontario, offering women the chance to birth out of hospital, with continuity of care, and informed choices. When we hear that professional doula services are beginning to offer third party reimbursement, it seems like a similar path is taking shape. A doula should be available to every woman and every birth, regardless of income or social status. While we still have a long way to go, this is definitely a step in the right direction!