Here's a tip: If you're even remotely close to your due date, are thinking of flying to another country and don't have health insurance, you may want to stay home. A Canadian mother learned the hard way just how pricey that predicament can be, when she unexpectedly gave birth in Hawaii and was hit with a whopping $1 million hospital bill upon her return home.
Jennifer Huculak of Saskatchewan was actually cleared by her doctor to travel when she and her husband jetted off to the big island of Hawaii for a little R & R in October, 2013. After all, she was a whole nine weeks away from her due date, and not expected to go into labor early. But in a twist of fate, Huculak did go into labor early—her water broke just two days into their trip. The unexpected and difficult birth left Huculak bedridden in a Hawaiian hospital for an agonizing six weeks, and her premature daughter in intensive care for a whole two months.
But here's the thing: Huculak did go through the trouble of buying traveler's insurance through Blue Cross before even stepping on the plane for her vacation, she says the provider is now refusing to pay the bill, which eventually reached a staggering $950,000.
"The specialist in Hawaii said that these things just happen," she told CTV News. "There’s nothing that causes them."
Her doctor has even sent a letter to Blue Cross stating the very same thing, but to no avail. In the meantime, the Huculaks are faced with one pretty upsetting reality: they can either keep fighting the claim, or declare bankruptcy. Either way, it's all been a pretty distressing year for the family.
"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," said the mom, who notes that the Blue Cross pamphlet she received before buying the insurance made no warnings about pre-existing conditions.