VIDEOS: Insurance Company to Peggy Robertson: Want Coverage? Get Sterilized… and By the Way, Your Son is Too Small

Jodi Jacobson

Insurance denial continued: Now we have the case of Peggy Robertson, a woman who was denied coverage because of a prior C-section and told to get sterilized, and then her son was denied coverage for holding his breath, and for being too small.

Remember a few weeks back the story of the baby who was denied insurance coverage because he was "too big?"  As in 90th percentile on the weight and growth charts (the efficacy of which as a mother I have questioned numerous times over the years).

Well, now we have the case of Peggy Robertson, a woman who testified at a hearing last week co-sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is conducting a national campaign for health reform.

As the following series of videos shows, Peggy’s story takes us further down the rabbit hole of the insurance and health care crisis in this country, as if any of us thought there was any further to go.

Appreciate our work?

Rewire is a non-profit independent media publication. Your tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.


First, Peggy, who had (gasp!!!) a c-section when giving birth to one of her sons is told she can not be covered by United Health Care’s Golden Rule Insurance unless she got sterilized. In a written letter.

Because of her lack of coverage, she is unable to afford a third child.

Anyone else see the irony here? On one hand, we are in a battle to allow women to prevent pregnancy when they desire not to become pregnant, and on the other, women who want to have a child are denied coverage if they have had a c-section and told to get sterilized! “Gender discrimination” is written all over these policies with a massive Sharpie.

Peggy’s story, however, does not stop there. She is told her son can’t be insured first, because he is a "breath holder" and then a year later because he is "too small".

"We aren’t large people small people, my husband and I," says Robertson, "so of course he is small."

While these stories have remained in the shadows, at least now they are beginning to get some small amount of coverage in the mainstream media.

Perhaps the greatest shock is not that these stories are coming out and that they are absurd and demeaning on their face.  Perhaps the greatest shock is that so many stories like this are out there untold, that countless Americans trying just to get through daily life have to fight to be insured, to get health care, to get affordable coverage for normal conditions, and then fight to get reimbursed if they can get insured at all.

It is a wonder that Peggy has kept her sanity, though perhaps she knew that losing it would provide another reason for denial of insurance coverage.

I say the insurance industry as currently constructed is too sick to function and should be declared a national "pre-existing" condition of which we should rid ourselves permanently.

Load More