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Local teacher rations medications as insurance no longer covers enough of the bills

Posted at 11:08 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 19:24:50-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Jamie Tadrzynsky is a teacher at Canyon Springs High School, and she has type one diabetes. When we first talked to Tadrzynsky back in late August, she told us there was a point where she had to ration her medication because her insurance wasn't covering it.

"Things are not great. I should not be sitting here as a professional, as a 10-year veteran of the teaching profession, wondering every month what's going to get paid first, my rent or my medical bills?" Tadrzynsky said. "People are leaving the district because of health care. People are working second jobs. People are using their spouse's insurance to get better coverage. There has not been the help that we have been promised."

Tadrzynsky says the teacher's health trust has been facing financial challenges, and they have not been completing teachers' payments. As a result, she claims she's lost seven doctors in the past seven years.

"Right now, my out-of-pocket is about $250 without insurance," Tadrzynsky said. "That would be running me about three thousand dollars a month, which is more than half my paycheck."

13 Action News brought these concerns to Marie Neisess, president of the Clark Education Association and board member of the Teacher's Health Trust.

"I've never heard one teacher say to me, 'I'm leaving because of our health insurance.' Does our health insurance have room to grow and improve? Absolutely," Neisess said. "That's the work that they're working on at the trust, working diligently to try to improve what has been challenging for our educators."

Neisess says the teacher's health trust has been catching up on their payments and they have until June to complete them. She also said she's visiting schools, and speaking with educators to make sure their concerns are addressed as well as give teachers more information about their coverage.

Bottom line, Neisess said the health trust can't take all the blame.

"I've heard them list several reasons across the nation where teachers are leaving the profession and our educators are no longer coming into the profession, and that has a variety of reasons," Neisess said. "Class sizes, workload, the lack of support from certain administrators, or even sometimes the community."

Tadrzynsky disagrees. She said no educator should have to wake up fearing they won't be able to cover their medical expenses, especially if they struggle with a disease.

"If I don't have my insulin, my sugar goes high," Tadrzynsky said. "I'm at risk for comas. I am at risk for amputations. I am at risk for blindness. I am at risk for heart attack with high blood sugars."