Health, News

Saskatchewan Couple Faces $1M Medical Bill

Hospital sign. Image: Ltljltlj
Hospital sign. Image: Ltljltlj

A Saskatchewan couple is discovering just how helpful people can be.

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel and husband Darren Kimmel found themselves facing a massive medical bill, but now Canadians are coming forward to help them cover their costs.

It all started when the two went to Hawaii for a vacation on October 27.

Before they left, they made sure they had medical insurance. Medical insurance, in this case, is when someone pays a relatively small amount of money to an “insurance company” and that company promises to pay the couple’s medical bills in case they get sick while they’re away.

While they were in Hawaii, something unusual happened. Jennifer, who was 24 weeks pregnant, went into labour early and had to be rushed to a hospital. Their baby girl, Reece, was born on Dec. 10.

In Canada, people who have a baby don’t have to pay their hospital bills. That’s because Canadians’ medical expenses are paid for automatically by the government (through taxes). But in the United States, that’s not the case.

Reece’s birth was complicated because she was born too early and needed a lot of medical treatment. The baby and the mom are fine now, but the family found themselves saddled with a huge medical bill.

In fact, their medical bill was nearly a million dollars, covering weeks of medical treatment for the baby and the mother.

The insurance company decided they would not pay the couple’s bill. (The reasons, according to the insurance company, are too complicated to go into in this article. For more information about that, read this CBC News article.)

But now many people who learned about the situation from the news media have offered to give the couple money to help cover their costs.

The couple doesn’t yet know what they will do. They may take the money, but it’s not certain it will be enough to cover their bills. They could sue the insurance company for the money and try to make them pay.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
If you were the couple, what would you do? Would you take the money that people have donated? Would you sue the insurance company? Would you try to pay the bill yourself?

Reading Prompt: Text Patterns
A newspaper article tells a story of an event. Often journalists use time to order their writing and to tell the story. For example, they may begin the article with the earliest part of the story and then move to the more recent parts.
How is this article organized using time?

Identify a variety of organizational patterns in a range of texts and explain how they help readers understand the texts (OME: Reading, 2.2).

Identify a variety of organizational patterns in a range of texts and explain how they help readers understand the texts (OME: Reading, 2.2).

Language Feature: Parentheses 
The journalist uses parentheses (also known as brackets) in this article twice. Why does she use them? How do they help you to read and understand the article better?