South Surrey pro hockey player Colten Teubert is weeks away from becoming a dad.
But he doesn’t know where his son will be born, after he and his fiancee, Ashley Sims, were turned away from a scheduled appointment – and denied future service – at Peace Arch Hospital Monday due to what Teubert said were “insurance issues.”
Teubert, a 23-year-old Semiahmoo Minor Hockey alum, is a Canadian citizen, while Sims is American; the two met while Teubert played for the Oklahoma City Barons, an affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.
Teubert said he and Sims have full medical insurance coverage through the Professional Hockey Players Association, and prior to this week, Sims, who is 8½ months pregnant, had been to “five or six” appointments at PAH without incident.
Now, Teubert said, his fiancee’s doctor insists payment has not been made through their U.S.-based insurance company, a claim that surprised the company. Sims was told she would not be seen at PAH unless the couple pay more than $14,000, Teubert said.
The couple has already paid a $1,000 deductible, he added.
“It’s just beyond belief,” Teubert told Peace Arch News Tuesday.
“I just don’t understand why they’d suddenly stop seeing us. They said they were not comfortable with our insurance. If there were issues, they should’ve come up two months ago when we first came back up here.
“They basically just handed us back our papers and said, ‘See ya later.’ (Ashley) could pop at any moment – we’re in a real panic now.”
In an email to Sims, an insurance agent from Meritain Health – the couple’s provider – expressed disbelief that any issues existed.
“When I spoke to the doctor, I was under the impression that this was all understood and taken care of,” one email, dated July 23, states.
In another, the same insurance liaison writes, “I am not understanding (why) they would add this stress to you right now. It is beyond belief that they would refuse services.”
According to Fraser Health spokesperson Erin Labbe, the maternity clinic at PAH –where the couple had been going – is a private clinic, and “patients who receive care (there) who do not have adequate insurance would be required to pay.”
However, Labbe said that scenario is not to be confused with emergency care.
“If someone was to show up in labour, or bleeding, of course they would not be turned away,” she said.
Teubert said the couple chose to return to the Peninsula because it’s where Teubert trains during the off-season, and also because he wanted his son to be born at Peace Arch Hospital, where he himself was born.
Until the issue is settled, Sims and Teubert will travel to Washington for weekly appointments, and if it comes down to it, Sims said she will give birth in the U.S. Teubert, though, remains positive.
“I’m hopeful that it will all get worked out, but I think people should know that this kind of thing is happening, so it doesn’t happen to somebody else,” he said.
Teubert and Sims will be in South Surrey until September, when they move as Teubert continues his career. He is currently a free agent.
“Right now I have bigger things to worry about, like my boy.”