Another Reason Why We Need National Health Care

There was a story today in my local newspaper updating the readers about a sad event and a happy event that happened all within  twenty-four hours to a woman named Trisha Urban.  Tragedy struck Trisha on the same day that she gave birth to her daughter, Cora.  As Trisha prepared to go to the hospital, her husband went outside to feed their animals.  When he didn’t return, Trisha stepped outside and found him lying in the yard.  Her husband, Andrew, died of a heart attack.  The complete story of how events unfolded that day can be read by clicking here

The story doesn’t end there.  Andrew Urban had a congenital heart defect and he skipped a cardiology appointment about a month before the baby was due because he didn’t want to add to their already mounting medical bills.

From the Reading Eagle

“I’ll always have that regret that he missed that appointment,” said his widow, Trisha A. Urban.

Even though the Urban’s had been paying premiums on their health insurance, it wasn’t enough.

According to Trisha, it wasn’t until three weeks ago – about seven months after the family’s coverage began – that the company began paying the Urbans’ claims, and even then it paid only about $2,700 of the $28,000 in claims they filed.

Trisha called it a constant battle.

She estimated the total debt could be more than $50,000.

The Urbans purchased UnitedHealthcare insurance through Immaculata University in Chester County, where Andy was working toward his doctorate.

United Healthcare insurance issued this statement…

In a written statement, United Healthcare said the health plan Andrew Urban purchased provided a set amount of coverage for annual medical expenses and that the company has paid the expenses allowed by his plan.

The company also said students who need extensive coverage should consider options beyond the university’s offering, such as individual policies.

Some people believe that just making health insurance mandatory would be enough to take care of this national health care problem.  Not necessarily so.  United Healthcare insurance wanted the Urban’s to purchase additional health insurance.  Hmm, nice try, but “no cigar”.  As you can see, the Urban’s were ineligible for additional insurance.

She said the couple could not purchase an individual policy because Andrew had a heart defect and she was pregnant, both of which are pre-existing conditions an individual policy wouldn’t cover.

What has happened to Trisha Urban is tragic.  Fortunately, the community has stepped up to help her.  You can read the complete story of how the community rallied behind Trisha here.

Each night, when Trisha puts Cora to bed, she kisses her twice.

“I give (her) a kiss,” Trisha said, “and the first kiss is from her father … and the second kiss is from me.”

No one can say for sure that things would have turned out differently for the Urban’s if Andrew had kept his cardiology appointment.  What we do know is that Andrew was concerned about mounting medical bills and that the Urban’s could not purchase additional health insurance because of the “pre-existing conditions”.  If we had national health care, then Andrew Urban would have kept his appointment with the cardiologist and things may have been different or they may be the same.  Either way, Andrew Urban still deserved the chance to receive the medical care that he needed and didn’t received because he couldn’t afford it.

7 thoughts on “Another Reason Why We Need National Health Care

  1. ANOTHER reason?

    “Either way, Andrew Urban still deserved the chance to receive the medical care that he needed and didn’t received because he couldn’t afford it….”

    ….At the time. He didn’t have the option to ‘write the debt down’ or ‘charge’ it, and in an economic downturn his insurers weren’t prepared to invest in his future as a wage earner to pay for their insurance services over time.

    As long as basic health-care is regarded as a market commodity, the value of a human life will likewise be calculated by those who are already favored by such calculations or work specifically to be so favored.

  2. Thanks for posting this Cats 🙂 It is a tragic commentary of what so many people have to deal with.

    I myself have had to battle with several insurance companies over coverage. One was an emergency appendectomy on my husband, while we were on vacation. I had to rush him to the hospital on the island, the insurance company said I should have called first and taken him to a hospital on the mainland which was 30 to 40 miles away.

    He was completely doubled over in pain and couldn’t stand up straight. He ended up having a perforated appendix. It was absolutely ludicrous, and the hospital hardly charged anything. For the hospital stay, the doctor, X-rays or MRI and meds it came to about $6,000.

    The doctor who did the surgery agreed to cut his fee in half. The battle went on for a little over a year. Plus, I didn’t call an ambulance, I helped Nick into our vehicle and took him to the hospital myself.

  3. My god, that is heartbreaking.

    Who knows if things would have turned out differently if Andy had kept that appointment, but that’s not the point — no one should be put in a position where a decision like that has to be made.

    Thank you, Cats.

  4. Just another in the long litany of reasons why we need single payer, not for profit health care/insurance. Leaving the foxes to come up with the blueprints for the chickencoop should have predictable, negative results.

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