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Verizon Strike Could Create Mountain Of Medical Bills For Technician From Long Island

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Robert Baricevac and baby Matthew (credit: Robert Baricevac)

Robert Baricevac and baby Matthew (credit: Robert Baricevac)

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Almost two weeks into their strike, thousands of Verizon workers are faced with the possibility of losing their health insurance coverage that expires at the end of the month.

Verizon field technician Robert Baricevac of Kings Park, who had a kidney transplant 6 1/2 years ago, said if a deal isn’t worked out soon, he will have to foot the bill for doctor’s appointments and medications totaling about $3,000 a month.

“If I would stop taking medication, my kidneys would fail and I guess I would die. It’s pretty much the way it is — without medication, without my kidneys functioning, nobody could really live,” Baricevac said.

To make potential financial woes even worse, Baricevac and his wife also have a 6-week-old baby. He said he is “really hoping” that the dispute between Verizon and his fellow workers is “resolved within the next two weeks.” In the meantime, however, Baricevac, 37, said he would stick with his co-workers “for the greater good.”

“If we caved to everything that they said, we’d have nothing anyway,” he said.

Verizon argues that the issue of insurance benefits expiring shouldn’t be a surprise because unions leaders were fully aware such a situation would occur in the event of a strike. Through a spokesman, the company said that the understanding about insurance was worked into the previous contract.

Union leaders have made mention of helping striking workers with medical needs, but Baricevac said he has not yet reached out to them. However, he said he simply “cannot afford to have a lapse in condition.”

“I’m just waiting and hoping during the picket lines, just hoping that they come to some kind of agreement,” Baricevac said. “Nobody wants to be out of work these days.”

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