When Susan Rosalsky was hired as an English instructor at SUNY Orange last year, she was elated. After several years of unemployment, she and her husband, Michael Trost, had been eating through their savings and 401Ks. Better yet, the job came with good health insurance through New York’s Empire Plan and United Healthcare. Rosalsky signed herself, Trost, and their daughter up for the plan.
“I thought we were out of [hot] water,” she said.
And they were—until this past March. One morning the couple was out walking their dog when Trost began feeling short of breath. “Just take me to the ER,” Rosalsky recalls him saying.
Trost and Rosalsky live in Dingmans Ferry, on the easternmost edge of Pennsylvania. There was an emergency room in the nearby town of Milford, but Rosalsky didn’t think they were in-network there. Another option was a nearby urgent-care center, but it was across the border in New Jersey, where Rosalsky wasn’t sure she was covered. She opted for Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, New York—the state where the couple’s insurance plan was based. When they arrived, the couple says they were told their insurance would indeed be accepted.
Bon Secours admitted Trost, and, after performing an echocardiogram, deduced that he had a failed mitral valve and would require surgery. He was taken by ambulance to a different hospital, Good Samaritan in Suffern, New York. Rosalsky says Trost asked there, too, whether his insurance would be accepted and was told it would.