A Gimli, Man., couple is in a dispute with their travel insurance provider after they were billed for upwards of $140,000 US in medical costs, only to find out their claim had been denied.

George and Evelyn Cox, who have travelled to Arizona every winter for the last seven years, had purchased travel health coverage with Medipac Travel Insurance.

"When you apply for this travel insurance, it makes it look so simple: fill in the form, send the money in, we'll send you the card," George Cox told CBC News on Tuesday.

The coverage was put to the test last year, when Evelyn became ill while they were driving back to Canada. She was treated for a bleeding ulcer and medevaced to Winnipeg.

The couple said they later started receiving bills from eight different states, totalling about $140,000 US, for various medical expenses.

They called Medipac and learned that their claim was denied because Evelyn had sought treatment in the past for alcoholism. The policy's fine print states that the policy would not cover the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

However, the couple said Evelyn's ulcer was likely caused by prescription medication, adding that they drank very little on their trip.

George Cox said he has since whittled the bills down and paid them with their savings. The couple is now in the middle of a legal case against Medipac, and they are not planning to travel south this winter.

"Insurance, as far as I can see, you never really know how good it is until such time as you need it," George said.

Officials with Manulife, which underwrites Medipac, told CBC News it is looking into the couple's case.