This is what i hate about travel insurance - there are SO many things that can disqualify you for care. You will note at the bottom of the story, the same thing happened to an Australian family in a Canadian hospital too - I don't think the health care system in the US is faulty for this, I think that travel insurance is really sucky when it excludes just about everything.Australian family expects to pay $1 million after baby born in FloridaPublished On Wed Apr 11 2012EmailPrintRssArticleSonja Broom holds baby Gracee, who was born premature in a Florida hospital in February while Broom, an Australian, was on vacation. Broom says her family owes more than $1 million in medical fees for Gracee's care.SPECIAL TO THE STARJosh TapperStaff Reporter
A two-week family vacation across the United States has turned into a cripplingly expensive hospital stay for an Australian woman after a ?freak? premature birth.
Sonja Broom, 36, expects to pay more than $1 million in fees to a Florida hospital after giving birth to her daughter, Gracee, just 24 1/2 weeks into the pregnancy.
Gracee has spent nearly two months in neonatal care at the Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando, racking up an enormous medical bill as Broom tries to raise money to pay the hospital and fly back to her Brisbane home.
?I hate the fact that I can?t go home and control the situation,? she told the Starfrom Orlando. ?It?s a freak thing that happened. This baby shouldn?t be here, the baby should be inside me; it should be developing and doing what an unborn child should be doing.?
Hospital staff told Broom that Gracee may require another six weeks, at least, in neonatal care.
Broom, her parents and husband Brett, a painter, landed in San Francisco on Jan. 29, before jetting to Orlando a few days later. Her water broke halfway into a four-day Bahamas cruise the family boarded on Feb. 10 from Cape Canaveral.
Two days later, Gracee was born, weighing about 1 pound 7 ounces.
With Broom taken to hospital, her parents and Brett returned to Brisbane to take care of her two sons, Jack, 3, and William, 22 months.
The Brooms? insurance plan will not pay for hospital care because the pregnancy was considered a ?pre-existing? condition. While Broom said she and Brett understand the fine print, they?re still challenging the claim.
?We were told (by hospital staff) that there was an infection in my uterus . . . which caused pre-term labour,? she said. ?The infection was not pre-existing.?
Broom said hospital staff told her the final hospital bill could exceed $1 million.
The family has already paid for Broom?s medical needs, which reached $10,000 ? even with a 75 per cent discount from the hospital.
Florida Hospital could not confirm those totals on Wednesday.
The Brooms have entered a Medicaid application for Gracee, an American citizen, and have taken to Facebook to raise money.
Meanwhile, stranded nearly 15,000 kilometres from home, logging 12-hour days crib-side and sleeping at a nearby Ronald McDonald House, Broom said she is reaching her wit?s end.
But she wouldn?t be anywhere else.
?It?s a roller-coaster at the moment; I?ve got no one here to support me,? she said. ?I want to see (Gracee) grow and get out of here quickly.?
The Brooms are not the first Australians in recent months to face sky-high hospital fees after having a baby prematurely in North America.
A Sydney-area couple, Rachel Evans and John Kan, were also hit with a nearly $1 million bill after Evans gave birth three months early at the B.C. Women?s Hospital, while vacationing in Vancouver last August.
In March, Evans told the Star the couple will pay the hospital $300 per month for the rest of their lives to cover the costs.