SASKATOON – Saskatchewan Blue Cross says it will not be paying a $918,000 medical bill a Saskatchewan couple received after giving birth prematurely while vacationing in the United States. Jennifer Huculak gave birth to Reece in October 2013 after her water broke while she was in Hawaii.
Saskatchewan Blue Cross President and CEO Arnie Arnott said although they have been following the story, they can’t pay the claim.
“There are more facts related to this story that prevent us from reversing our decision,” Arnott said in a written statement.
“In a two-page letter to Ms. Huculak dated November 15, 2013, we provided a full, point-by-point explanation of our review, citing nine specific events that prevent us from accepting her claim.
“This correspondence, and overview of the medical treatment she received over six months leading up to her departure, may be directly obtained from Ms. Huculak.”
Attempts by Global News to contact Huculak for her reaction to the latest developments have so far been unsuccessful.
Huculak, who is from Humboldt, says she was cleared to take the trip by her doctor and purchased coverage from Blue Cross.
“We were told we were covered. We paid our premium. We obviously still feel that Blue Cross should cover the bill,” Huculak said last week, who went on to say her family is now facing bankruptcy.
Huculak has stated her only condition during pregnancy was a bladder infection about two months before the trip.
“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].”
Huculak was nearly six-months pregnant when her water broke. After a lengthy hospital stay, Reece was born prematurely and spent two-months in a neonatal intensive care unit.
A Toronto-based lawyer is prepared to take up her fight. Huculak and Sivan Tumarkin were guests on the Roy Green show on the weekend and he is stepping up to help.
“I was able to get a lot of information that was relevant. I still don’t have all the information I need, but I have I think sufficient information to make an assessment that, in my view at least, Blue Cross has absolutely no leg to stand on,” said Tumarkin.
Arnott is urging the couple to have the decision reviewed.
“The challenges facing this family are extraordinary and difficult … we urge Ms. Huculak to have our decision reviewed by an independent ombudsman.”
Arnott said Blue Cross is prepared to cover any costs Huculak incurs in preparing to have her claim reviewed by the OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance, a national independent agency providing third-party reviews of customer concerns.
Huculak and her husband Darren Kimmel were given a bill of $950,000 that included more than $160,000 for her hospital stay and $40,000 for her medical evacuation.
Saskatchewan Health has paid $20,000 of the bill and the U.S. picked up the $12,000 cost for Reece’s delivery, leaving $918,000 still to be paid.
Watch below: Parents of ‘Million Dollar Baby’ speak out about their ordeal