A Canadian woman who thought she was taking a simple vacation with her husband is now facing a nearly $1 million surprise medical bill.
Jennifer Huculak and her husband, who live in Sasketchewan, Canada, were on vacation in Hawaii in 2013 when Huculak, who was pregnant at the time, unexpectedly gave birth nine weeks early. She stayed on bed rest in the hospital for six weeks and her child, born premature, was placed in intensive care for two months.
Huculak and her now 11-month-old baby are now healthy and back at home in Canada. But the family received an unpleasant surprise after returning home: their bill for their care at the Hawaiian hospital totaled $950,000.
Huculak told Canada's CTV News that she had bought Blue Cross insurance before her trip and she had been cleared for travel by her doctor. However, she says Blue Cross is refusing to pay any of her hospital costs, claiming the woman had a pre-existing condition.
"It makes you sick to your stomach. Who can pay a million-dollar medical bill? Who can afford that?" Huculak told CTV News.
Hucalak said she received a letter from Blue Cross stating that they would not pay any of the expenses. The letter says: "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."
She added that the family is now trying to decide whether to fight Blue Cross, declare bankruptcy, or wait and see what happens.
According to a 2013 study by The New York Times, childbirth is far more costly in the U.S. than in most other countries. The study also found the cost of delivery in the U.S. has tripled since 1996.