A Saskatchewan couple may be stuck with medical bills of nearly $1,000,000 because their child was born prematurely during a vacation in Hawaii. Their insurance company refuses to pay for the delivery and the recovery, arguing the pregnancy was high-risk and a pre-existing condition.
Jennifer Huculak and her husband took the trip last October, when she was six months pregnant. They bought travel insurance from Blue Cross and checked with a Huculak's doctor before flying.
Two days into the vacation, her water broke. Her baby daughter arrived more than 2 months early and spent weeks in intensive care, while Huculak also needed weeks of bed rest. The family's hospital bill totaled $950,000.
"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," the insurance company said in a letter to the family.
Huculak told CTV there was no "high-risk pregnancy," she just had a bladder infection that caused some bleeding. Her doctor in Saskatchewan explained to Blue Cross that the infection didn't have anything to do with the early labor, but it didn't change the company's decision not to pay.
Now the Huculaks have a 1-year-old who's doing fine, but they also have $950,000 in debt, and must decide whether to keep fighting Blue Cross or declare bankruptcy.
Canada's publicly funded single-payer healthcare system isn't without its flaws, but it's looking pretty good right about now.