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British Columbia Australian couple faces $1-million hospital bill after baby born in B.C.

A woman enters B.C. Women’s Hospital and Health Centre in Vancouver.

Richard Lam/The Canadian Press/Richard Lam/The Canadian Press

Australia's foreign affairs minister is looking into the case of a Sydney couple stuck with a million-dollar hospital bill after their daughter was born in Vancouver last August.

John Kan and Rachel Evans had taken out travel insurance and extra cover for Ms. Evans' pregnancy without realizing the policy would not cover birth or the baby.

They were about to return to Australia after their B.C. vacation when Ms. Evans went into premature labour at the airport.

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Piper Kan stayed in the neo-natal ward of the B.C. Women's Hospital and Health Centre for three months and the bill ended up being about $1-million.

Australian media reports the couple negotiated a payment plan with the hospital at about $300 a month, which would take 278 years to pay off.

Ms. Evans tells the Herald Sun newspaper they don't begrudge the bill because they have a healthy daughter.

"Financially, it's not so good but you can't put a price on it," she told the newspaper.

It's unclear what support Australia's foreign ministry could offer, but the Herald says the country's Department of Health and Ageing will reportedly investigate whether it could pay the bill.

Ms. Evans said she is grateful for any help the government might be able to provide.

"We don't feel our mistake was someone else's responsibility but obviously it is quite a large amount so any assistance we can get would be helpful."

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Australian residents can get treatments deemed medically necessary under reciprocal agreements with 11 countries, but Canada is not one of those countries.

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