Take Care Utah - How Health Insurance Saved Shelley's Life

How Health Insurance Saved Shelley's Life

Shelley has a strong background in medicine, having practiced as an RN for 4 years. In fact health care is what initially brought her to Utah. Shelley moved to the state in 2001 to take a nursing job. But as life unfolded, and she chose to pursue other business opportunities both within and outside of the health care field, Shelley was unable to find affordable health insurance for her and her two children. She went without health insurance for six years. That changed in 2014, when health reform finally gave her an affordable option. She immediately enrolled her family in an insurance plan through the healthcare.gov marketplace.

Shelley was thankful for the new coverage for her family, but didn’t realize the extent of how necessary it would be until one evening at the end of December 2014. It was the first snowy day of the year and traffic was terrible. The combination of winter weather and holiday traffic created a frenzy on the roads. Shelley was turning left into the Redstone Shopping Center in Park City when a large Suburban accelerated through the intersection despite the red light, slamming into the small SUV that Shelley and her two kids were in. The impact spun Shelley’s car around on the icy road. Shelley, her children, and the occupants of the other car were all taken to the hospital.

The children thankfully sustained only minor injuries. They needed chiropractic care, but their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance through their car insurance plan covered those costs. Shelley, however, was left with a severe concussion, whiplash, and a knee injury that later required surgery. For Shelley, having health insurance meant not needing to cover those costly medical bills out of her own pocket.

Despite her extensive health care experience, even Shelley was surprised by the financial burden of a car accident. “I just had taken for granted how costly a physical injury can be. Lost work, replacing the car, insurance; all of those things just really add up. So I was really grateful that I was covered,” Shelley explained.


Take Care Utah’s goal is to help Utahns access health care. We do that by assisting with Medicaid, CHIP, and healthcare.gov applications. If you do not have health insurance or want to learn more about what your options are, our assistors offer free, in-person, nonprofit help. To find your nearest enrollment assistor, call 2-1-1 or search by ZIP code on the takecareutah.org website.