Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel and her husband Darren are a Canadian couple who wanted to have a Hawaii vacation before their baby was born. Huculak-Kimmel was almost six months pregnant with a low-risk pregnancy but at four months she had an episode of hemorrhaging from a bladder infection.
Her doctor cleared her for travel and did not consider her pregnancy high risk. She and her husband took out Canadian travel insurance thinking they had covered their bases in case there was a health issue while they were away.
Unfortunately, Huculak-Kimmel’s water broke and she went into preterm labor while still in Hawaii. She was medevaced from Maui to a larger hospital on the mainland and put on bed rest for the next six weeks.
The travel insurance medical coverage was through Saskatchewan Blue Cross. While in the hospital, Huculak-Kimmel received an email from Blue Cross stating that since her pregnancy had a pre-existing condition, it was considered a high-risk pregnancy and they would not pay for her hospitalization.
Concerned about the cost, they tried to arrange a flight home, but one company turned them down and another told her she would have to have an entire medical team fly with her in order to go and they still did not recommend her trying.
Reluctantly, she stayed in Hawaii. She delivered her baby, little Reece, who was two months premature and taken promptly to the NICU.
Now, here is where the bill gets really expensive.
The daily charge in the NICU was about $15,000/ day. Reece was there for two months. The total bill reached $950,000 and needless to say the couple does not have that kind of money.
There are a number of issues at play complicating who should be responsible for paying the bill.
First, the couple stated that when they took out the travel insurance, the agent told them that they should have adequate coverage for their trip even though Huculak-Kimmel was pregnant.
The only question about pregnancy she was asked was if she was under 32 weeks, nothing was asked about any other illnesses that occurred while pregnant.