The news that an insurer has refused to pay for a Canadian woman who was handed a $950,000 hospital bill after giving birth whilst travelling, has reignited concerns about the need for people to check the small print of their travel insurance policies, The Financial Post reports.
There are an increasing number of couples taking mini-breaks before their baby is born; but as Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel found, this can become a costly decision if your insurance does not cover you for all eventualities.
Back in October 2013, Huculak went into labour two days into a trip to Hawaii – at just six months pregnant. Not only did she need to spend six weeks in hospital before the baby was born; but because the baby was premature, it needed to spend two months in a neonatal intensive care unit.
This soon mounted up to healthcare costs reaching nearly one million US dollars; and insurance company Blue Cross is refusing to foot the bill on grounds of "pre-existing medical conditions".
Although Huculak argues that she had purchased travel insurance and was cleared to take the trip by her doctor, experts warn that permission to travel by a doctor does not necessarily mean you're covered by insurance.
What's more, most policies for pregnant women will only cover birth or complications if the woman is travelling within a certain period of time either side of her due date; and may not cover costs incurred once the baby is born. Even family insurance policies may not cover the newborn, as it has not yet been added to the policy.
In a written statement, Blue Cross President and CEO Arnie Arnott stated that the insurer "provided a full, point-by-point explanation of our review, citing nine specific events that prevent us from accepting her claim."