A Canadian couple on vacation in Hawaii was hit with a $1 million hospital bill after a pregnant wife gave birth nine weeks early, and a pre-existing condition prevented her traveler’s insurance from covering the stay.

When Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel and her husband Darren consulted with their doctor before planning a trip to Hawaii last year, they had been reassured everything was in order. But two days after arriving, Huculak-Kimmel’s water broke. She was airlifted to Oahu, where she spent the next six weeks on bed rest and eventually delivered her baby girl Reece via emergency C-section. It was only after the couple got home that they realized Blue Cross was charging them $950,000.

“We are unable to provide coverage for any medical expenses incurred for Ms. Huculak's baby,” read a letter sent to the couple from Blue Cross. “Please note that Ms. Huculak's travel policy expired on Nov. 9, 2013.”

While Huculak maintains she only had minor bleeding from a bladder infection during her pregnancy and was otherwise fit to travel — as confirmed by her doctor prior to leaving — Blue Cross claimed the condition was pre-existing, invalidating coverage for Reece’s two-month hospital stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. Huculak’s pregnancy had been deemed “high-risk.”

“It makes you sick to your stomach,” she told CTV Saskatoon. “Who can pay a million-dollar medical bill? Who can afford that?”

Nowhere in the Blue Cross pamphlet was there any fine print mentioning pre-existing conditions, Huculak claims. Had she known of the qualifications, she wouldn’t have gone on the trip. Now, the couple must decide whether they want to fight Blue Cross, declare bankruptcy, or just wait to see how the whole thing shakes out.

Huculak’s specialist in Saskatchewan has written a letter to Blue Cross explaining that the pre-existing condition did not lead to her early labor. However, her coverage was still denied. At this time, the couple says they’re overwhelmed with support but currently aren’t taking private donations. Huculak urges people to take extra precautions if they plan on making a similar trip.

“It's a very sad situation to be in,” she said, “and people need to be aware that insurance companies will deny you if they have anything they can go on.”

If there is any bright side, it’s that 11-month-old Reece is living a healthy life, despite the financial battle that will likely ensue well past her first birthday.