The Health-Care Crisis Hits Home

When my brother got sick and his insurers refused to pay, he needed help. After a dizzying, infuriating trip through the system, here's how we found it

Dan Winters for TIME

Patrick Tumulty with his medication and his bills.

When you've been strong and fit your whole life, it can be easy to discount your body's first whispers of sickness as merely the side effects of daily living. Looking back over the past three years, my older brother Patrick now understands the meaning of his increasingly frequent bouts of fatigue, his fluctuating appetite and the fact that his blood pressure had crept up to 150/90. But Pat had always put off going to the doctor until he had to. Having bought health insurance that carried a $2,500 deductible, he knew he would have to pay for a checkup himself. That...

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