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Canadian mom hit with $1M bill after Hawaii birth


  • Reece Huculak-Kimmel was prematurely born at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children on Dec. 10, 2013.(Courtesy Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel)

  • Reece Huculak-Kimmel was prematurely born at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children on Dec. 10. (Courtesy Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel)
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Reece Huculak-Kimmel will forever be known as the million-dollar baby.

The 11-month-old Canadian girl was prematurely born at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children on Dec. 10 and her parents are now responsible for a $950,000 bill that insurance won’t cover.

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel was vacationing on Maui with her husband Darren when her water broke two days into their stay. 

She was air lifted to Kapiolani Medical Center, where she was put on bed rest for six weeks and delivered baby Reece by emergency C-section nine weeks early.

While still in the hospital, she learned that her travel insurance company, Saskatchewan Blue Cross, had denied her claims due to a pre-existing medical condition exclusion in the policy. More than a month before, Huculak-Kimmel had a bladder infection that caused minor hemorrhaging.

"At no point was I ever told by a doctor that a bladder infection could cause a water breakage down the road," the 30-year-old mother told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a phone interview from Canada. "The doctors at Kapiolani told me there is no specific cause. They can’t link a water breakage to anything. These things just happen."

The baby was kept in the neonatal intensive care unit for two months and the couple, who live in Humboldt, Saskatchewan province, have been desperately trying to get Blue Cross to cover the huge expense or they may be forced into bankruptcy, she said.

"I guess I was naive. When a doctor tells you, ‘you are fit to fly,’ I thought that I would be insured," Huculak-Kimmel said. "Having a new baby sick in (intensive care) alone is stressful enough, but your insurance company denying your claim when you thought you were covered, it’s extremely stressful. It’s traumatic. We honestly don’t know what we’re going to do."

A spokeswoman for Hawaii Medical Service Association, which is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield network, said they were researching the case and didn’t have an immediate comment. Officials at Kapiolani Medical Center declined comment.

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