Sam Rollins was uninsured and never thought much about it until he gouged his thumb opening a can of tuna.
Sam had a decent job, was engaged to be married to a beautiful girl, and watched college basketball’s annual March Madness on his newly purchased 50 inch Sharp brand flat screen as if the games were all that mattered. His favorite team was Fresno State, but he also liked Pepperdine and Gonzaga, the latter because NBA great John Stockton had once played there. In fact, he was in the kitchen, opening a can of tuna, when Pepperdine was playing Gonzaga in an exciting Elite 8 match up. It had been halftime, but now the second half was just starting. The commentary was fierce, and he was missing the game. The tuna can was stubborn and the can opener was like the television, sharp; sharper than most knives. Sam wasn’t paying enough attention. The way he held the opener, and the angle of the can, and the force he was mustering. He slipped, felt a sudden surge of pain, also sharp. Was that blood gushing out of a wound in the webbing between his index finger and his thumb? It was. The can of tuna crashed to the floor. “What a mess,” Sam said, while gritting his teeth, and he wasn’t referring only to the spilled tuna.
He called 911. “My hand,” he whispered, “There’s blood everywhere.”
The operator got his vital information, especially address, after he repeated his situation several times. “I’ll send an ambulance,” the operator finally said.
Sam thought again. “Do I have health insurance?” he asked himself. “Am I covered?” Fighting back the pain and able to create a makeshift tourniquet out of his fiancée’s blouse that was lying around the kitchen, he managed to stop the bleeding, if only enough to make a second call, to Matt Lockard, a friendly California health insurance agent he’d once considered purchasing a policy from. Sam and Matt went way back. His parents were long-time Lockard customers. “Hi Matt. This is Sam Rollins. Remember me?”
“An ambulance is coming for me. I cut my hand real bad. Do I have insurance? Am I covered?”
Matt unfortunately knew the answer. “You considered purchasing a policy Sam.”
“So I’m not covered?”
“So this ambulance and the emergency room visit is really going to cost me?”
“It’s going to cost me an arm and a leg?”
“At least a hand, financially speaking; emergency room care isn’t cheap.”