11/18/2014 07:23 EST | Updated 01/18/2015 05:59 EST

Hawaii Birth Leaves Canadian Couple With Million-Dollar Bill

HUMBOLDT, Sask. - A Saskatchewan mother says she is facing more than $900,000 in medical bills after giving birth unexpectedly in the United States and being told the costs won't be covered by insurance.

Jennifer Huculak was nearly six months pregnant when her water broke while on vacation in Hawaii in October 2013. After a lengthy hospital stay, Huculak's daughter, Reece, was born prematurely and required a two-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Before her trip, Huculak said she purchased Blue Cross insurance and got the green light to travel from her doctor.

"We were told we were covered. We paid our premium. We obviously still feel that Blue Cross should cover the bill," she said, adding her family is now facing bankruptcy.

"It's a very sad position to be in. I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

The total bill of $950,000 included more than $160,000 for Huculak's hospital stay and $40,000 for a medical evacuation, she said. The rest of the cost went to care for Huculak's daughter.

So far, she said Saskatchewan Health has paid for $20,000 of the bill and the U.S. picked up the cost of Reece's delivery, at $12,000. That leaves $918,000, she said.

Blue Cross denied her claim, citing a pre-existing condition.

"I had a bladder infection and I hemorrhaged a bit at four months," she said. "My doctor saw no reason for me not to go.

"We had no questionnaire (from Blue Cross)."

She said her doctor sent a letter to Blue Cross confirming that Huculak's pregnancy was stable when she went on vacation, but the claim was still denied.

"As of March, Blue Cross pretty much washed their hands of the whole case," she said. "We've just kind of been sitting ducks not knowing what to do."

Blue Cross didn't return a call seeking comment.

Huculak said she wants to warn people that "when you think you're covered, you may not be."

"I don't know what I could have done differently. We thought we did everything right," she said.

She said if a doctor told her she had a high-risk pregnancy, she wouldn't have travelled to Hawaii.

"My doctor felt my pregnancy was stable," she said. "Who can pay a $900,000 bill, not to mention the $30,000 it cost us to live down there?" she said. "We're still paying catch up from that."

She added that baby Reece is thriving.

"She's our world. She's a perfectly healthy little baby," she said. "It's been a very stressful year. I think what keeps us going every day is this beautiful little girl that we have," she said.

— By Clare Clancy in Regina

Also on HuffPost

  • CRIB
    Image: Babyletto
    Try Babyletto’s Hudson 3-in-1 convertible crib.

    This Babyletto crib is not only beautiful and sleek, but also affordable. According to one Amazon user, “All in all, very satisfied with the quality and craftsmanship of this crib. I would recommend it to any new mom or dad!”
    Try SkipHop Treetop Friends Activity Gym.

    If you only get one toy for your new baby (but let’s be honest, there will be many), this would be the one. One Amazon reviewer put it perfectly: “Bottom line: there are lots of things for baby to do on this playmat, without being over-stimulating/overwhelming.”
    Try the Skip Hop Duo.

    The best diaper bag has space and pockets for the tons of essentials you will need to bring with you, and is also EXTREMELY easy to clean. Don’t forget to buy one that works for your personal style!
    Photo: Aden and Anais 
    Try Aden + Anais.

    These adorable blankets can be used not only for swaddling, but also for coverage in the swing, car seat, or just to lay on the floor. They even double as a nursing cover!
    Photo: Huggies 
    Try Huggies Little Snuggler Diapers.

    Of course, you know that your baby needs diapers. But a good diaper is an underrated imperative when it comes to being mommy-prepared. Little Snugglers are exceptionally soft for your baby’s bottom, and even include a wetness indicator.
    Try Lansinoh HPA Lanolin and Disposable Breastpads.

    The lanolin will help with pain, and breast pads will keep you dry at all hours of the day and night.
    Image: Simple Wishes
    Try the Simple Wishes Hands Free Pumping Bra.

    This hands-free pumping bra will give you the freedom to multitask. And we all know how those precious minutes can mean the world to Mom!
    Photo: Amazon
    Try Dr. Brown’s Standard Bottle.

    Loved by moms around America, make sure to grab one of Dr. Brown’s bottle warmers as well!
    Try the UppaBaby Mesa.

    A car seat is a MUST, starting from the day you leave the hospital. The UppaBaby Mesa is not only stylish, but has a European belt path and easy install system.
    Try the Boba Baby Wrap.

    This beautiful, soft carrier can be used from the time your baby is born, and is incredibly handy when going about your daily routine!
    Try the Fisher Price’s Newborn Rock ’n Play Sleeper.

    This inclined chair will vibrate baby right to sleep. You can also rock your little ones if that’s more their style. It’s a portable contraption, which is definitely necessary if you won’t be home around bed time.
    Chicco Lullaby
    Try the Chicco Lullaby LX Playard.

    This lightweight sleep/play set is like the perfect combination of a play pen and a bassinet. It is insanely easy to assemble, and will keep your child happy and protected.
    Try the Basic Comfort Contour Changing Pad.

    Not only will this pad fit on any existing dresser, but the folded-up sides will keep your child safe and sound.
    Tiny Love
    Try Tiny Love’s Soothe n’ Groove mobile.

    This mobile is perfect for your growing baby. As baby matures, it perfectly adjusts for a crib or to a stand alone music box. The 18 different songs will entertain for years, as will the beautiful shapes. There is even a night light attached to this work of art.
    Try the Dorel Glider Rocker Combo.

    Yes, a long day alone with baby might leave you haggard by the end. But once you sit down and rock your sleepy child in one of these, all those frustrations will melt away.
    The Night Light
    Try The Night Light.

    This fun-looking drying rack is ideal for your baby’s endless amounts of bottles. This is great for keeping your things away from the munchkins in an attractive way. So take a plunge and add this to your kitchen accessories for baby’s sake.
    Try the Infant Optics DXR-8.

    This monitor comes with interchangeable lenses. The video is streamed in real-time to a compact 3.5" LCD color display screen. It even has night vision and a temperature sensor. What more could you possibly want?
    Try American Red Cross Baby Healthcare Kit.

    This must-have portable kit includes these essentials: nasal aspirator, digital thermometer with case, medicine dropper with cap, medicine spoon with cap and a nail clipper.
    Getty Images
    Try Playtex Binky Silicone Pacifier, Gumdrop Pacifier, NUK Transparent Pacifier or a variety of other brands.

    Your baby's pacifier needs will likely depend on how they end up feeding, so there is not a "right" pacifier for every baby. However, it's always good to start off with a few options, like the ones above, to see what works.
    Cane Humidifier
    Try the Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier.

    Whether your child is sick or well, a humidifier is a key to great air quality. It’ll increase air moisture to help avoid dry skin and alleviate breathing issues. This style doesn’t require a filter, so there’s no new purchases necessary, and it even includes an auto shut-off sensor so you never have to worry about it running too long.