Health Insurance Coverage

This page features stories about being uninsured or underinsured and experiences with public and private insurance coverage. Listen to these stories, visit our Featured Stories page, or search for stories by topic or by location.


Adrienne – Golden, CO

adrienne_pic (1)Adrienne, of Golden, shares her story. During her pregnancy Adrienne had no complications, but when her daughter Sylvia was born she could hardly breathe and then spent ten days in the NICU.

“I didn’t know if my child was going to survive. I didn’t know if I could even form an attachment… Everyone says the moment their child is born is the most magical moment of their life, but I kind of feel like I didn’t get that.”


Irene – Fort Morgan, CO

Irene - , CO

Irene, of Fort Morgan, works full time but her job is unable to offer health insurance. She shares her story of enrolling in CICP and the difficulty finding a provider who accepted it.

“When I hurt my knee, I was trying to figure out where to see a doctor, how much it would cost me, and it was overwhelming. So I just tried to ignore the pain thinking it would go away… As time progressed, it did not get better.”

Scott and Diane

Scott and Diane – Thorton, CO

Scott and Diane are married and have two teenage girls. Their private small company employers recently decided to stop offering health insurance options to employees. Suddenly faced with new health issues, the couple has experienced great difficulty locating an affordable health insurance option that would give Scott access to the prescription he needs.

“We were finally able to get insurance for our two children but for our entire family the health care that we’ve been aware of pretty much would be the difference of whether or not we pay for our mortgage or our health insurance.”


Theresia – Colorado Springs, CO

Theresia, previously gainfully employed, shares her story about losing her job and the affect it had on managing her chronic health issues. She describes needing assistance and the impact of a safety net clinic.

“I’ve just kind of learned to be honest, say that there was a need and hold my head up high because I didn’t do anything to cause this to happen and it’s been a very humbling experience.  I’m used to giving, not receiving.”


Rafael – Colorado Springs, CO

Rafael, a Colorado Springs resident and Army veteran, was shot while he was in his home and ended up receiving quality emergency care while he was uninsured.

“I think health care should work for the people.  Not for the organizations or the companies.”


Joan – Colorado Springs, CO

Joan, of Colorado Springs, CO, volunteers at a dental clinic and shares her experience supporting individuals with and without dental insurance. She also describes how invaluable dental care is, particularly for people looking for employment.

“The dental needs that I see here in this city are humongous and there’s no good answer, there’s no real solutions for it…”


Jill – Colorado Springs, CO

Jill moved to Colorado Springs from New Jersey in order to restart her life and access proper medical support. With expensive prescription medication for her chronic disease, she needed help.

“People should be able to have a physical and not worry about paying for the doctor.”


Elizabeth – Colorado Springs, CO

Elizabeth, a student in Colorado Springs, shares her story about struggling with a chronic disease and affording the care and medication needed to live.

“All of these bills every three months are just piling up and so my parents actually had to go bankrupt over medical stuff.”


Bebe – Littleton, CO

Bebe, who works in Littleton, CO shares her health story. She talks about her role as the Executive Director of Doctors Care and the impacts of safety net clinics in Colorado.

“The safety net, as we continue on, is going to be the better guide.  It is not going to change the fact that there are sick people and well people, but when you add that [existing barriers connecting to poverty] all together the safety net is prepared to be the better guide…”

Christina and Jaden

Christina and Jaden – Durango, CO

Christina explains her family’s decision to move from their home in Durango to Denver for her son Jaden’s specialty care. Despite having formed a close relationship with their primary care provider in Durango, the financial strain of living so far away from a neurosurgeon has forced Christina and her family to make this tough choice.

“Its been a very hard decision to move to Denver, because this is home…I’m losing that large chunk of go-to care for specialty care.”

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark Earnest – Denver, CO

Dr. Mark Earnest is a Professor in the Division of General Medicine for the University of Colorado and the Co-Founder and Director of the LEADS Program. He is also a Denver resident, and tells the story of a patient who sought treatment for kidney disease and her struggle to afford the necessary care. He wants to share her story to show how the medical system could be different, in a way that overcomes people’s fear about change.

“Isn’t it enough that somebody has lost their kidneys and now has to be on dialysis? Do we have to completely ruin them before we provide care?”


Maya – Aurora, CO

Maya, an Aurora resident living with diabetes, shares her story about a time in her life when she had to choose between insuring herself or insuring her children.

“My physician is asking me why I am not coming to the doctor’s.  And I’m telling her it’s because I don’t feel I can miss work.”


Juana – Summit County, CO

Juana, of Summit County, CO, shares her story of navigating the Medicaid system after unexpected pregnancy complications.

“I saved money for all of the payments, the prenatal visits, the labs, everything; and for what the baby would need and all.  But, I didn’t plan on extra savings … and then suddenly there is this bill.”

Richard and Bette Faith

Richard and Bette Faith – Rocky Ford, CO

Richard and Bette Faith, residents of Rocky Ford, CO, share their story of Bette’s COPD and their gratitude for Tricare and Medicare assistance.

“We’ve been married 26 years and been through a lot of health problems together over those 26 years.”

Ken and Charlette

Ken and Charlette – Rocky Ford, CO

Ken and Charlette, residents of Rocky Ford, CO, share their stories of health care access and navigating the current system.

“I tell you what really irritates me, if we get a divorce, she could get Medicaid.  But we can’t get no help because we make just a few dollars too much.  So what do we do?  Do we get a divorce so she can get more help?  That’s a sad situation, and a lot of people do it.”


Tesfahunega – Aurora, CO

Tesfahunega, an Aurora resident and member of the Ethiopian community describes his battle with congestive heart failure and no insurance.  He claims he uses the Emergency Room to seek treatment feels hurt by the lack of empathy amongst health care workers.

“And nobody cares, the way I see it they don’t care.  They see me going back and forth to the emergency room and should get me my insurance card.  They know I’m in trouble; its just there is nothing I can do.  But there is a lot they can do.”


Lamine – Summit County, CO

Lamine is an immigrant from Senegal, and a Summit County resident, who helps interpret and assist with paperwork for his community members.  He tells a story of his community members too scared of health care bills to seek out medical assistance.

I remember a friend of mine was waiting until the point he was crying to go to the doctor. I kept telling him “you need to go see the doctor.”  And he said “if they send me a bill how am I going to take care of my family?  All they know is sending bills, they not going to fix anything.”

Dr. Chris

Dr. Chris – Summit County, CO

Dr. Chris is a pediatrician in Summit County.  She tells the story of owning her own practice and the difficulties of providing care.

If we have a big flu epidemic then we do have better revenue and we’re able to buy needed equipment or upgrade things around the office.  And other years when there really aren’t too many viruses going around, we might really struggle to just pay rent.

Debbi Jo

Debbi Jo – Summit County, CO

Debbi Jo, a 29 year resident of Summit County, talks about her difficulties gaining access to health care after changing jobs.

“All the sudden [I] found myself without employment and without health insurance.  Which is very disappointing after paying 35 years of insurance premiums.”


Erich – Summit, CO

Eric is a thyroid cancer survivor and Summit County resident.  He talks about his struggle to receive proper care and the difficulty in moving forward with his treatment.

“The biggest disappointment I would say is the way that I as a patient felt I was treated when I was applying for these programs.  It was very frustrating because you felt they were just finding ways to brush you off to the side or that this place didn’t want to deal with you but we’ll recommend this place and maybe they can help you out.”


Betty- Summit County, CO

Betty is a breast cancer survivor and Summit County resident.  She talks about access to health care and the inability to get health insurance when you have a preexisting condition

“If I hadn’t had a preexisting condition I would have dropped it, but I knew theoretically that if I ever dropped it I couldn’t get back on another policy…because that’s the way it works today.”



This Aurora resident shares her experience about getting care at a local community health clinic after becoming pregnant at the age of 35.

“I was already … 35, and I had been divorced for a few years, dating a guy for only six months, and on the pill and I become pregnant.  My boss let me go … So here I am on unemployment, pregnant, single, no health insurance.”