It has emerged that a couple ended up with a hospital bill of up to 1 million dollars, after they had a daughter while they were holidaying in Canada.
The Canadian hospital has called her a million-dollar baby, as she made an unexpected arrival while her parents John Kan and Rachel Evans were on vacation.
AdvertisementEvans went into premature labour in Canada just as they were about to return home last August. But the costs piled up when their daughter, Piper, needed to stay in hospital for three months.
The Willoughby couple had travel insurance and Evans was given the all-clear from doctors to travel.
She gave birth at 26 weeks and the insurance covered neither the labour nor Piper's hospital care.
Under reciprocal agreements, Australian residents can get "medically necessary" public treatment in 11 countries, and some treatments are free.
However, Canada is not on the list. The couple was charged 8,120 dollars a day for the 90 days Piper spent in the neo-natal ward - with that alone adding up to 730,800 dollars, not including doctors and specialist fees.
Piper was able to come home just before Christmas. Before they left, the couple met the hospital's finance department to discuss the bill.
They were asked to repay 1000 dollars a month, but this was negotiated to 300 dollars a month, which they have paid since December. At that rate it would take 278 years to repay - not including interest.
"We were in the departure lounge waiting to fly home and then (Ms Evans) went into labour and we had to call an ambulance and go to hospital....It was lucky the flight was delayed or we would have been in the air," " News.com.au quoted Kan as saying.
"We're paying it very, very slowly over a long period of time. We had insurance ... but we weren't covered for actually giving birth," he said.
Evans said that they did not begrudge the bill because they had a healthy daughter.
"We feel quite lucky it worked out the way it did.
"Financially, it's not so good but you can't put a price on it," she added.