Click here to read HCFANY’s latest compilation of stories, titled “Health Reform Works: How the Affordable Care Act is Already Helping New Yorkers“ (2012). This report highlights the different benefits that are included in the federal health reform law, and how they are are already helping folks of all ages around New York State - even before the law has been fully implemented.
Voices of the Uninsured
Here HCFANY higlights a number of stories told by New Yorkers who either have no insurance, or who have insurance that is not good enough. These stories were told and recorded at HCFANY’s People’s Public Hearing, which was held on May 28, 2008 in the “Well” of the Legislative Office Building in Albany. A full compliation of these stories is available in print form in our publication titled “New Yorkers Speak Out for Health Reform”(2008).
To view more HCFANY stories and testimony from other New Yorkers, please visit our YouTube page at www.youtube.com/hcfany
Bridget K., Owego
Bridget is a stage 3 breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in November 2000 and forced to leave work due to her illness in 2002. After leaving work, she spent 18 months uninsured, during which time she could not afford to see her doctor regularly. She was forced to go when symptoms such as lumps began to appear. She now has Medicare, but has still needed to take out a second and then a third mortgage on her house to support her medical expenses. She currently has over $7,000 in unpaid medical debts outstanding. Watch Bridget’s story below:
Mike and Teri M., Wynantskill
Mike and Teri own a small business. They lost eligibility for health insurance
through Family Health Plus when their child went to college, and since
then have been uninsured. Mike had a heart attack while doing yard work a couple years ago. He was clinically dead for 15 minutes, then spent 5 days in a coma, but miraculously recovered. Mike and Kerry were billed about $10,000 per day for 10 or 11 days in the hospital, and now Mike needs drugs which cost about $1,400 per month. Without insurance, they will be working hard to pay off these debts for many years to come. And, since problems related to the heart attack will be classified as a pre-existing condition, it is nearly impossible for him to ever get the medications that he still needs covered by any insurance plan. Watch Mike & Teri’s story below:
Bunnie S., Saratoga Springs
Bunny is a waitress, and her husband Patrick had been a truck driver for years until he was diagnosed with lung cancer. In the initial stages of the cancer, they
struggled to make the required co-payments for doctor visits and medications, which came to hundreds of dollars per month. But when Patrick hit the infamous Medicare “doughnut hole,” they were forced to accept hospice care because they could no longer afford Patrick’s potentially lifesaving drugs. Patrick died soon after. Bunny still can’t afford insurance, and is waiting for Medicare to kick in. She misses her husband terribly. Watch Bunnie’s story below:
Jim S., Brooklyn
Jim has been advocating for health reform since he was diagnosed with HIV in 1994. Without insurance, his medications would cost $25,000 per year. Jim is covered by Medicare and Medicaid, and also purchases supplemental private insurance to help him with his co-payments and prescriptions. In 1994, his private
insurance cost $250 per year; it now costs $770 per month. Jim has had to make a lot of personal sacrifices to keep up with his insurance costs. He already has no car, doesn’t travel, reads books from the library instead of buying, and shares his house with a roommate. But every year, Jim has to sit down again and decide what else he can give up in order to be able to afford his supplemental insurance for one more year. Watch Jim’s story below:
Kenia G., Brooklyn
Kenia lost her health insurance when her daughter was born. As a result, she avoided doctors she could not afford. During this time, Kenia developed a kidney problem. But, with no health insurance she was not able to get medical help until her kidneys had degraded enough to needed a transplant. If Kenia had been able to afford her normal post-natal doctor visits, her kidneys may have been saved. She is now on Medicaid, which covers her ongoing treatment. Kenia wants to find a better job, but she knows that if she makes even a little more money she will lose her Medicaid. So she is forced to stay at her job. See Kenia’s story below:
To see these and other stories in written form, download our “New Yorkers Speak Out for Health Reform” booklet here.