If you’re travelling out of the country while pregnant, you want to make sure you’re properly covered. In this post we will talk about how to avoid your own million dollar baby if you plan on visiting or vacationing in another country.
You’ve probably heard about Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel’s ordeal when she went to Hawaii on vacation and gave birth to her daughter; only to find out that her Blue Cross travel insurance wouldn’t cover her. Her and her partner, Darren Kimmel, returned to Canada with over $900,000 in medical bills.
Are you travelling out of the country while pregnant, or planning to? If so, you can rest assured that there are precautions you can take to make sure what happened to Jennifer won’t happen to you.
Blue Cross didn’t pay out her claim, but according to Canada Health Insurance Association (THiA) 95 per cent of all submitted travel health insurance claims in Canada are paid by the insurance provider. How did Jennifer become part of the 5 per cent whose claims aren’t paid?
How to Avoid Your Own Million Dollar Baby
First, make sure you’re cleared by your doctor to travel while pregnant. Travelling while pregnant can be safe, but pregnancies can come with additional challenges and risks. Pregnant women can develop severe complications and are susceptible to certain infections that can harm the baby. Jennifer thought she did everything right, but it went very wrong, so let’s look at what happened.
Blue Cross denied Jennifer’s claim because she had a bladder infection and hemorrhaged when she was four months pregnant. This constituted a pre-existing condition, which nullified her insurance contract. The insurance company noted her travel insurance expired while she was in the hospital.
When she gave birth to Reece prematurely, she had to stay in the hospital for three months. Her health insurance coverage was in effect for the length their vacation, and expired on November 9, 2013 the day after they were to land in Canada.
You Should Always Get Travel Insurance
Below are some tips to make sure you’re covered when you travel while pregnant. It’s important to note that Canadian laws and punishments are strict with regard to insurance. It’s highly unlikely an insurance company, agent or insurance broker would ever sell insurance fraudulently. It boils down to wording.
- Ask specific questions and get answers. Ask the insurance company or insurance broker what happens if you give birth to your baby while you’re in the other country. Find out what happens in the event you have to stay in the hospital past the expiry date.
- Read the fine print when it comes to exclusions listed in insurance policies.
- Ask for a list of what the insurer considers to be pre-existing or medical conditions that might compromise your policy, and double check with your doctor if you have any listed.
Another way to ensure you don’t have a million dollar baby when travelling out of the country is to create a relationship with an insurance broker who knows you and your needs.