Home > News > Family Faces $1M Medical Bill For Having a Baby on Vacation

Comments 1 Comment
Advertiser Disclosure


Vacation can be expensive. So is having a baby. Therefore, having a baby while on vacation is unlikely to be a cheap adventure.

A Canadian couple can tell you all about that. Jennifer Huculak and her husband were vacationing in Hawaii in October of 2013 when she suddenly went into labor, CTV News reports. She was six months pregnant at the time, spent six weeks on bed rest in a Hawaiian hospital and had her daughter nine weeks early. After her baby spent two months in intensive care, Huculak and her husband were happy to take their healthy daughter home. They weren’t so happy about the $950,000 medical bill, and they were especially unhappy that their insurance provider refused to cover it.

The dispute centers on whether Huculak had a pre-existing condition that would exclude her early labor costs from coverage. She bought a Blue Cross travel policy before going on vacation, but a letter from Blue Cross, quoted by CTV News, states: “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.”

Huculak says her doctor cleared her to travel, and she denies that she had a high-risk pregnancy. Huculak had a bladder infection, but her doctor in Saskatchewan wrote Blue Cross saying it did not cause the early labor, CTV News reports.

Facing the nearly $1 million bill, Huculak and her husband aren’t thrilled about their choices, which she says are to continue the dispute with Blue Cross, declare bankruptcy or “wait and see what happens,” according to CTV News.

Medical bills are the leading cause of U.S. bankruptcies, and millions of Americans deal with the frustration and financial pain of unaffordable health care. Even with the help of insurance, people still find themselves unable to pay medical bills, leading to collection accounts on their credit reports and, subsequently, credit issues. Having poor credit can cost you thousands of dollars over your lifetime — you can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, as well as how much your credit score is costing you, using this calculator — so if you’re caught in a medical debt dilemma, don’t let the issue sit.

There are a lot of options you can explore, like negotiating with your creditors, setting up a payment plan that makes the bill fit in your budget, or looking into debt settlement. If bankruptcy is truly your only option, keep in mind that while it will seriously hurt your credit, it also puts you on the path to financial recovery.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: PaulPaladin

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team