A Working mother struggles to keep her family healthy, while her husband seeks employment to get back the family health insurance back.
"Even though she was often employed as a nurse at a local doctor's office during the day, with her husband in and out of jobs, the family's insurance coverage was on a roller coaster."

By Carrie Richardson
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Lisa Brown has been an emergency room nurse for the past two years, as well as, a mother of two and a supportive wife.

Even though she now has a good job, for years she has hassled and struggled to make sure her children had access to health care.

Lisa had lived in Virginia since her childhood. When her husband secured a job in northern Virginia, she moved and started a family. For the last twenty-three years she raised her children, took care of the home, supported her husband when he was between jobs.

Even though she was often employed as a nurse at a local doctor's office during the day, with her husband in and out of jobs, the family's insurance coverage was on a roller coaster.

"It was hard" she said, "praying that my family wouldn't get sick in the middle of cold season while my husband was looking for a job because we didn't have any insurance to cover the medical bills." The Brown's went without insurance for almost a year, when they decided to search for their own insurance.
After Lisa's husband got laid off from his job they lost all of their health care insurance; however, after doing research on insurance companies and the plans they had to offer, Lisa found out that through her husband's former company they may have a lead that will help them out.

According to the insurance agent who talked with Lisa, her husbands last company was supposed to provide a
COBRA plan for employees that have been laid off or fired as a "tie over" for medical coverage, until he found a new job.

Lisa contacted the employer and explained the situation and although they were paying more out of pocket than when her husband was working for the company, the COBRA plan definitely helped the family out in case of any emergency.

For Lisa finding a good health insurance plan that would benefit her whole family wasn't easy. Her daughter, 22, lives in western North Carolina and when she got sick she went to the doctors not knowing that the COBRA policy didn't cover when you went to a physician out of network and the insurance would not cover for her to get examined.

A medical bill of four hundred dollars was billed to Lisa and her husband's home because she didn't have insurance where she lived. Lisa was devastated that she didn't know the specific terms to the policy and that she was billed so much money because her daughter's illness was not an emergency.

They did make the payment and when ever her daughter was sick she would either have to get better on her own or drive to Virginia to see a physician in network. After that episode Mr. Brown started looking for a job outside of the Virginia area.


Lisa's husband found a good job with plenty of benefits shortly after that and they moved to Greenville, North Carolina.

They are now covered under
Optima, HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plan through her husband's company.

Through this plan the company usually pays for half of what the insurance costs and then the employee pays the rest. Lisa's two children are both covered under the same insurance plan; however, she hasn't decided that since her son is in college in Virginia and her daughter is in North Carolina if it would make sense for them to have insurance through their schools or to keep them on the Optima plan.

Her children are included in their plan until they are twenty four or until they are no longer a full-time student and with the oldest one being twenty two she says they will probably keep them all on the same plan just be safe.

Overall Lisa's experience although rocky at times has been a good one. She says that everyone goes through tough times in their lives but all that matters is the strength you have to get yourself out of sticky situations. Now she resides in Greenville with a healthy family and a job that she loves going to everyday.


Carrie Richardson is a senior at East Carolina University, studying Communications with a minor in Business Administration. She plans to pursue a career in Public Relations, in either South Carolina or Georgia. She grew up in Norfolk, VA, lived their her entire life. She has a passion for art and anything that deals with the beach. Her family and friends are the most important people in my life and she will cherish what she has learned from each and every one of them for the rest of her life.

 Copyright ©2003 Carrie Richardson
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