Stories from Pennsylvania - Health Care

Trisha Urban - Berks County

One letter I received this year stood out for me among many. It was written back in February by Trisha Urban from Berks County - the east side of Pennsylvania. Trisha has a story about her life, her family, about health care.

Dear Mr. Casey,

Exactly one week and 7 hours ago, I was frantically trying to revive my husband who was doing some last minute errands before taking me to the hospital. My water had broke the night before, we were anxiously awaiting the birth of our first child. A half-hour later, 2 ambulances were in my driveway. As the paramedics were assessing the health of my baby and me, the paramedic from the other ambulance told me that my husband could not be revived.

My husband's death may have been prevented. Like many Americans, we have difficulty with our health insurance. My husband had to leave his job for one year to complete an internship requirement to complete his doctorate in psychology. The internship was unpaid; we could not afford cobra. Because of pre-existing conditions, neither my husband's health issues nor my pregnancy would be covered under private insurance. I worked 4 part-time jobs and was not eligible for any health benefits. We ended up with a second rate health insurance plan through my husband's university. When medical bills started to add up, the insurance company decided to drop our coverage stating the internship did not qualify us for the benefits. We were left with close to $100,000 worth of medical bills. Concerned with the upcoming financial responsibility of the birth of our daughter and the burden of current medical expenses, my husband missed his last doctor's appointment less than one month ago. I am a working class American and do not have the money or the insight to legally fight the health insurance company. We had no life insurance. I will probably lose my home, my car and everything we worked so hard to accumulate in our life will be gone in an instant.

If my story is heard, if legislation can be changed to help other uninsured Americans in a similar situation, I am willing to pay the price of losing everything. I am asking you to share my story with others in congress and I am willing to speak on behalf of my husband so that his death will not be in vain.

--Trisha Urban

You can watch a video of Trisha at a forum on Health Care in Johnstown by clicking here.