Canadian Woman Hit with $950,000 Tab After Giving Birth in U.S. Hospital

A woman from Saskatchewan was just six months pregnant when she and her husband decided to take a nice warm vacation in Hawaii well before the baby was due. Just to be sure, Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel got her doctor's okay to travel and bought some travel insurance for the trip.

None of her careful planning helped her when her premature daughter had to be delivered by emergency C-section, requiring a long hospital stay in Hawaii. The total bill was $950,000. Insurance? Denied.

What turned into a costly, Kafkaesque nightmare began when Huculak-Kimmel's water broke two days after she and her husband arrived in Maui. She was airlifted to a hospital in Honolulu, and after the C-section delivered her baby nine-weeks early, was placed on six weeks of mandatory hospital bedrest. A week into her stay, Blue Cross told her that her coverage was denied due to a pre-existing condition. Her obstetrician in Canada wrote to the insurance company saying the pregnancy had been stable and that there was no medical reason to deny coverage, to no avail.

The pre-existing condition? A bladder infection early in the pregnancy. She had even discussed this fact with a Blue Cross representative before the trip and been okayed for travel. 

"We thought we did everything right," Huculak-Kimmel said in an interview, adding that there was no inkling that the pregnancy was high risk. "Anybody in their right mind doesn't risk their life, their unborn baby's life to go on a vacation."

Costs climbed even higher since the baby needed an extensive stay in neo-natal intensive care at a cost of $15,000 per day. Huculak-Kimmel and her husband explored whether they could return home for further (cheaper) medical care, but doctors told them it was unsafe to move the baby. The couple also incurred the cost of a condo and a rental car during their unexpectedly long, mandatory stay in Honolulu.

Apart from the $950,000 bill the couple says they cannot pay, the story has a happy ending. Baby Reece is 10 months old and healthy, though her parents are facing financial ruin.

h/t: Raw Story

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