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

Christine DiGangi
'$1 million baby' family stars in Nordic Lodge reality TV show

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.

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