Million dollar baby: Canadians handed $1M bill after woman gives birth in U.S.
Published Tuesday, November 18, 2014 8:29AM EST Last Updated Wednesday, November 19, 2014 9:11AM EST
A dream vacation has turned into a financial nightmare for one Saskatchewan couple, after a mom-to-be gave birth while on holiday in Hawaii.
Jennifer Huculak and her husband have been saddled with a medical bill of nearly $1 million after she gave birth to her daughter in the U.S.
Huculak was six months pregnant when she flew to Hawaii for a holiday with her husband in October 2013. Before her trip, she bought Blue Cross insurance and received approval from her doctor.
But two days into her trip, Huculak's water broke and she spent the next six weeks on bed rest in a Hawaiian hospital. Her daughter was born nine weeks early and spent two months in intensive care.
While she's grateful that her 11-month-old daughter is now healthy, Huculak and her husband were left with a $950,000 medical bill.
"It makes you sick to your stomach," she told CTV Saskatoon. "Who can pay a million-dollar medical bill? Who can afford that?"
Blue Cross is refusing to pay any of the amount, arguing that Huculak had a pre-existing condition.
In a letter to Huculak, the company noted the following: "Ms. Huculak was diagnosed and treated for a high-risk pregnancy in the six months prior to departure. As Ms. Huculak is currently hospitalized and being treated for this high-risk pregnancy, any expenses incurred are not eligible under the terms of your policy."
But Huculak says that she did not have a high-risk pregnancy, she had a bladder infection which led to bleeding.
"The specialist in Hawaii said that these things just happen. There's nothing that causes them," she said.
Her specialist at home in Saskatchewan has written to Blue Cross, saying that the bladder infection did not lead to Huculak's early labour. But her coverage was still denied.
Huculak is angry because she said the Blue Cross pamphlet had no fine print explaining any rules for pre-existing conditions.
She said the family is now trying to decide if they should fight Blue Cross, declare bankruptcy, or wait and see what happens.
Meanwhile, she hopes that other travellers will learn from their ordeal. "It's a very sad situation to be in and people need to be aware that insurance companies will deny you if they have anything they can go on," she said.