PATERSON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Imagine having a baby, with about $30,000 in medical bills, and finding out the school district you work for never paid your health insurance.

That’s what happened to many school workers in Paterson and Newark, New Jersey, reports WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.

At least 800 teachers and other school employees were without health coverage for four months in the two cities because of paperwork problems.

Pete Tirri, president of the Paterson Education Association, said it appears that everyone will get their bills paid, though.

“[The school] had worked out for the state health benefits plan that all of those people would be covered from July 1 forward, and the bills will be paid as they were supposed to be paid,” Tirri said.

Tirri said one teacher called him and was very upset.

“She had doctor’s bills, because she had just had a baby,” Tirri said. “I said, ‘well, how much are we talking about,’ and she said that she had had a C-section, and it was going to be about $30,000.”

Paterson teachers are back on the health insurance plan, but paperwork problems persist in Newark, where some teachers remain without coverage.

“This is just something that should never have happened. We’re just glad that it’s resolved,” Tirri said. “Having 30 kids in front of you is a tough job – having to worry about whether or not your bills are going to be paid, and that kind of thing, just makes it tougher.”

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