Tags: 1 million | hospital | bill | canadian | birth

$1 Million Hospital Bill for Canadian Woman Who Gave Birth in US

By    |   Wednesday, 19 November 2014 03:49 PM

A Canadian mother is stuck with a $1 million hospital bill after she gave birth prematurely while on vacation in the U.S. last year.


Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel, at six months pregnant, thought she and husband Darren had taken all the right steps before taking a trip to Hawaii. She got approval from her doctor and even purchased travel insurance from Blue Cross, the Toronto Sun reported.

But her water broke while she was on vacation, leading to an emergency C-section and a lengthy hospital stay for the couple's premature daughter, Reece.

"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," Huculak-Kimmel said. "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 hospital bill added up to about $950,000, including $40,000 for medical evacuation to a Honolulu hospital; $160,000 for Huculak-Kimmel's hospital stay; and $750,000 for the care of the baby in a neonatal intensive care unit. Saskatchewan Health paid about $20,000 of the bill and the United States paid $12,000, leaving the couple with a staggering $918,000 bill.

"We don’t know what to do," Huculak-Kimmel said. "We can’t afford to pay a million-dollar medical bill. We can go deeper into debt and try to fight Blue Cross. We can wait and declare bankruptcy on the bill, which is no good for anybody. But we don’t have very many options."

Vancouver-based lawyer Scott Stanley told CBC that the couple shouldn’t pay the bill.

"What I typically counsel people to do is to not pay the bills, depending on their circumstances, because I have yet to see a big health authority come into Canada to try and enforce and collect," he said.

He said the incident points out that the Canadian insurance industry needs to be reformed.

"There's probably nothing she could have done differently and that's the real tragedy here," Stanley said, according to CBC

Twitter users were outraged at the story of the $1 million hospital bill.

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A Canadian mother is stuck with a $1 million hospital bill after she gave birth prematurely while on vacation in the U.S. last year.
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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 03:49 PM
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