Canadian Mother Charged One Million Dollars For US Birth Apparently Done With Diamond-Covered Forceps
Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel of Saskatchewan was six months pregnant when she went on vacation to Hawaii with her husband in October of 2013. Her doctor approved the trip, and Huculek-Kimmel purchased travel insurance from Blue Cross to cover any possible medical emergencies. While in Hawaii her water broke and she was hospitalized on bed rest for the next six weeks. Her daughter was born nine-weeks premature and spent two months in an Hawaiian NICU.
That’s some expensive shit.
In a letter to Huculak, the company noted the following: “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.”
But Huculak says that she did not have a high-risk pregnancy, she had a bladder infection which led to bleeding.
Her specialist at home in Saskatchewan has written to Blue Cross, saying that the bladder infection did not lead to Huculak’s early labour. But her coverage was still denied.
Yeah so we’ll just go ahead and take our million dollars, thanks. Checks are fine, or cash, if you have it.
It’s important to note here that she was never classified as a high-risk pregnancy by her doctors, and she even asked to be airlifted to a hospital in Canada during her hospital stay but couldn’t be moved due to her condition. She did everything right and nothing wrong.
Now, Huculak-Kimmel and her husband are deciding whether or not to fight the insurance company or declare bankruptcy. This is madness, people. MADNESS. I have a sister who is a doctor, and she always reminds me when I go off on a tirade about how unfair it is to bankrupt people for health issues that they are not at fault for, that someone has to pay for it. Sure. Yes. But my God, isn’t there something supremely unfair about bankrupting a couple who had a premature birth?! Or someone diagnosed with terminal cancer? Or someone who loses a leg in an accident? This can’t be okay. How can this be okay?
Fortunately, the Kimmel’s baby is now 11-months-old, healthy, and cute as a kitten. At least they’ll have that as they try not to end up on the street. As Huculak-Kimmel said in her CTV interview: “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.” Anyone who as ever had an issue with insurance coverage knows (raises hand, fluffs the stack of paper kept from the ordeal) that is the truth. I don’t want to demonize the people who work at insurance companies – those folks are just doing their jobs like everybody else. But I will say that their jobs are fucked, and this story is another example of how big an overhaul our healthcare system needs.