A Canadian mother is facing bankruptcy after being charged almost $1 million for having a baby in America. Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel gave birth nine weeks early while on holiday in Hawaii in November 2013. Her baby daughter had to be hospitalized for over two months which racked up a huge $950,000 bill.
Huculak-Kimmel explained to CBC that the family tried to get an emergency flight back to Canada, but they were turned down.
"My water broke two days into our holiday, I spent six weeks on bed rest and then baby Reece was delivered by emergency C-section on December 10th."
"We looked at all avenues to trying to get medevac [an air ambulance] home. One medevac company would not fly me in my condition and the other one would only do it with a surgical team on board and still recommended me not travel."
However the family were shocked to discover that their medical insurer Blue Cross is refusing to foot the bill. In a letter a Blue Cross worker wrote:
"We are unable to provide coverage for any medical expenses incurred for Ms. Huculak's baby. As Ms. Huckulak's emergency medical claim has been denied on the basis that her medical emergency is excluded from coverage under the terms of her per-existing condition provision, her baby is also not eligible for coverage. In addition, please note that Ms. Huculak's travel policy expired on Nov. 9, 2013."
Huculak-Kimmel said she met with her own doctor, and Blue Cross, before the holiday and was declared fit to travel.
"Blue Cross said that because I had a bladder infection at four months and hemorrhaged because of that, that they would not cover the pregnancy. We thought we had done everything right. We thought we had covered all avenues and we thought we were covered. We thought we were safe to go."
The family are now trying to decide if they should fight the insurance company or declare bankruptcy.