The Saturday Weekly Review

Million Dollar Baby: Should travel insurance have protected them? : The Saturday Weekend Review #98

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 travel insuranceA MEDICAL BILL SO BIG…


We believe travellers insurance protects us but this story should be an eye-opener for all travellers going to the USA and abroad from Canada.

Baby Reece’s parents a couple from Saskatchewan found out the hard way just how easy it is to spend a million dollars after giving birth while away from Canadian soil.

I have to talk about this story today because I know so many people who travel to the USA for one reason or another if even for a short trip to save money in their budget. With Black Friday upon us and the holiday season many Canadians cross the border to find deals but be careful when leaving Canada.

How could the birth of a child cost almost one million dollars when one has travel insurance?


Travel Insurance Surprise


Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel from Saskatchewan was shocked to get an enormous medical bill after she went into labour prematurely October 2013 while travelling in Hawaii. Jennifer was 6 months pregnant when she gave birth which meant her baby was put in the NICU for 2 months.

The bill for this stay was nearly one million dollars! I wasn’t shocked to read this story because there have been many recent stories about people getting hit with huge medical bills while travelling.

It seems she was under the impression that she was covered by her Blue Cross travel insurance but that wasn’t the case. Now they are facing bankruptcy as would anyone because not many people have a million dollars hanging around to pay for medical bills or things that just pop up.

This was a timely story because I know my wife was telling her sister to make sure she had proper coverage when she goes travelling over the border for any reason. She says she always gets travel insurance when she jets off to Las Vegas and other destinations but what about border shopping? You are not in Canada anymore so it’s no different.

I don’t think many people give much thought to this but if something should happen you may be on the hook for all the medical bills while in the USA. That would make a frugal trip to get groceries and gas VERY costly.

The entire situation is bizarre and scary for anyone who wants to travel even if they have travel insurance. It seems when it’s time to pay up there is always something that comes to light that makes the travel insurance contract void.

It’s not easy to prepare for the worst when travelling which is why we rely on travel insurance but it’s tough when you are let you down because you thought you were protected. Sometimes the slightest details will have your travel insurance company step away and say sorry we’re not paying.

I think by now we all know we must cover all of our bases with insurance companies to make sure they know every detail before you find out you are not covered for one reason or another when you need the coverage most.

Apparently Jennifer sustained a bladder infection at 4 months into her pregnancy that resulted in some hemorrhaging but her doctor still gave her the go ahead to travel. Sounds fair to me, he’s a doctor and knows what he’s doing.

The travel insurance company saw this as a high-risk pregnancy which was denied. Blue Cross didn’t even budge after her doctor sent in a letter to say Jennifer was perfectly fine to travel.


Traveling While Pregnant


When is it ok to travel when you are pregnant?

My wife and I had planned to fly to the UK in 2014 but since my wife was a high risk pregnancy we decided to stay close to home. Although some pregnant women shy away from travelling as long as you have a normal pregnancy you should be safe to travel up until about 36 weeks. You should always talk to your medical provider first though before booking your flight. Jennifer got the all clear from her doctor.

According to Global News

The total bill of $950,000 included more than $160,000 for Huculak’s hospital stay and $40,000 for a medical evacuation, she said. The rest of the cost went to care for Huculak’s daughter.

I really do hope that the bill gets paid in full for Jennifer and baby Reece but I also hope this is a lesson for everyone to learn about travelling out of country. If you aren’t sure about coverage call your insurance company and make sure you’ve covered all your bases then run through them again and again until all possible scenarios come up.

Should Blue Cross pay for baby Reece? What are your thoughts? Do you have insurance when you go over the border into the USA and are you 100% sure you are covered?

I’m pretty sure that almost all of Canada has now heard of the Million Dollar Baby and if you want to help, fundraising has started so the family can pay this massive medical bill with a Go Fund Me Page where you can make a donation.


Around our house and the blog


Wow, can we say that I just squeezed by getting the tires changed on my vehicle, cleaning the front and back gardens plus spending 8 hours cleaning the garage for the winter. Just that same day the snow came piling down which hit Buffalo NY so bad they are pretty much buried in the white fluff.

I’m sure happy that I got it done but next year I might start a bit earlier. I’m not sure if I’ll get the Christmas wreathe up this year as I’m so busy so it may have to wait another year. Same goes with the Christmas tree but I do have the Christmas lights on the timer now.

I don’t take our lights down at the end of season so I didn’t have to put them up. Call me lazy if you will but I’m far from it. It’s  a time saver for me and you can’t hardly tell they are there. They are all white lights and I hung them handing down not up. I’m happy I’m not freezing my bits off so it was worth it to me!

Other than that it looks like I’ll be working two full-time jobs coming the new year but I’ll keep you updated on that. Not sure how I will pull it all off but the good thing is my new job I can work half of it from home too.

Around the blog this past week Consolidated Credit reached out wanting to know what our Lifesaver moment was when it came to debt. Not only did they ask us but other Canadian Personal Finance bloggers.


CBB blog posts this week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will link to them all below. If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions. Mr.CBB will look in his mailbag weekly and pick a question to answer on the blog.


Fan deals and inspirations


Submit your Brag or Inspiration If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.


grocery budget savings Melissa Mullins

Today CBB fan Melissa Mullins shares some great grocery deals she picked up recently that saved her money in the grocery budget! Well done Melissa!


Making A Difference


If you know a personal finance blogger that is making a difference and want to nominate them please send me an email canadianbudgetbinder (@) so I can reach out to them for a feature story.

Hi there CBB Fans — I’m Kelly. My husband Todd and I have a blog called “Finally Acting Our Wage”, where we talk about all things personal finance.

We got married last year (the second time around for both of us) and quite frankly, we’re still both in the process of recovering financially from our first marriages (and subsequent divorces), which as many people know is often a devastating change — mentally, emotionally AND financially.

Now that we’ve been married for a while, we’ve realized that our financial situation isn’t going to magically fix itself, that it’s going to take time, planning, education, effort and accountability.

Our blog is about the journey that he and I are taking together — our triumphs as well as our failures — to greater financial success.

One of our goals with our blog is to help show others that taking financial responsibility doesn’t have to require perfection or huge sacrifice. We’re just a couple of ordinary people, like most everyone else out there.

We make mistakes, too, and hopefully we’re going to learn from them and do better the next time around. By sharing these experiences, we hope that our readers will be able to learn right along with us. 

We hope you take the time to drop on by and say hi. We look forward to learning from all your experiences as well — what has worked from you and what hasn’t — after all, we’re all in this together.


Top recipe


f you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.


caramel pecan bars

From now until the end of the year I will be sharing holiday recipes with all of you!! Today my friend Mary at Bunny’s Warm Oven shared these to die for Caramel Pecan Bars.

One look at these caramel pecan bars and I was hooked because nothing is better than nuts and caramel except for brownies of course, lol. If you want some amazing recipes you must follow Mary because she is the ultimate home baker. These bars would be great to serve up over the Christmas holidays. Thanks for sharing Mary.


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s blog post pick of the week goes to The Frugal Cottage who shared a post about Why People Struggle With Budgeting. It’s no surprise that people do struggle but getting started is half the battle. I honestly think that some people think budgeting is much harder than it actually is and that they would rather not know the truth unless they are forced to find out.


Google search terms


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • Is it ok to eat a can of Campbell’s tomato soup that expired on September 6, 2014 on November 19, 2014?– The expiration date gods say……. eat at your own risk!!!! lol.
  • Sandwiches on a welfare budget– Hmm, I guess there are such thing as cheapo sandwiches like pb and jam or cucumber and margarine.
  • How do the Amish pay off 100,000 worth of debt? – Um, the same way everyone else should.. spend less than you earn and use a budget.
  • I love smoking– Most smokers do they just won’t like how smoking will eventually KILL them.
  • Is it illegal to sell a water-bong at a garage sale?– I don’t know how about that, you call the police station and ask them?


Thanks for dropping by and I’ll catch you next week!


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  1. It’s a tough call on whether the couple should have Blue Cross pay the tab. They purchased the insurance in good faith telling the company about the bladder infection and their doctor signed off on it, saying it was OK to travel. That, I think, says it…they got the insurance in good faith…. They were honest with the company. Given the size of the bill I wonder if the company was looking for an out…….. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a company found a loophole to avoid paying a claim.
    I put up our lights in early Nov. while the weather was still warm enough and I just didn’t plug them in.I did plug them in for a couple of hours the night of the town Christmas parade. December 1 I plug them into the timer for the month and that will be all. I just have them around the front porch windows and I can put those up and take them down without using a ladder in iffy conditions. I usually try to have the tires on the truck swapped out in October…just in case. We do live in the snow belt. This year was early November.
    Hopefully things work out for you with the two jobs….Mind your health there….you don’t want to get sick from working too many hours and not getting a proper rest, especially with the little one not sleeping well at night. We worry…….
    Molly and Stuart were impressed with the deal on the cat treats!!! I’ve gotten some with that coupon as well. I keep looking for coupons for the Temptations and their Whiskas!!!!
    Have a good weekend!!!!

  2. The million dollar baby case is a tough one; on one hand it may not have been the best idea to travel while that pregnant. But on the other hand they did cover their bases by obtaining insurance and double checking that they would be covered. Either way I am shocked the bill came to nearly $1M

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