SERIES: Healthcare in America #15, Judith Lieben, This Is the Bronx

This is part of an ongoing series that gives Bronx writers a chance to share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.

By Judith Lieben, Sept 9, 2018

Michael’s Nightmares and Insurance Hassles

My husband died after a lingering illness and he regularly had nightmares that his medical care would leave me bankrupt, without a house, food, or safety. These nightmares were so life-like that he would lie awake with his heart racing and sweating, causing medical people to come running (because of the monitors) and I was the only one who could bring him back to waking reality: “Are you sure all this is covered? Have you talked with the insurer? Are you sure? I want you safe. I can’t have all this treatment if you won’t be safe.”

When fully awake, Michael knew he was lucky. His job brought him “Cadillac insurance.” Almost everything was covered — although not for “free.” Regularly over the course of about 5 years, we would get billed for thousands of dollars. I’d pick up the phone, because he was often too sick to deal with details like this — sick people shouldn’t have to argue to get the benefits they’ve paid for. 

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