UC Berkeley student fought against cancer and for coverage

on March 11, 2013

Oakland resident Kenya Wheeler was a UC Berkeley graduate student when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012.

Every semester University of California students like Wheeler can buy into the school system’s Student Health Insurance Plan, or SHIP. But coverage at most campuses disappears if a student’s costs exceed $400,000.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, caps on insurance plans are banned. However, a loophole in the act allows “self-funded” student insurance plans like the one offered within the UC system to keep such caps.

As the costs of Wheeler’s cancer treatments mounted, his expenses approached UC’s insurance ceiling and left him facing the reality of losing coverage.

Click on the video above to hear his story, reported by Sean Havey.


  1. […] Watch the video from Sean Havey on Oakland North to hear his full story. […]

  2. kennan Scott on March 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Kenya is an amazing person.
    I send my strength and love to you brother!

  3. […] Watch the video from Sean Havey on Oakland North to hear his full story. […]

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: oaklandnorthstaff@gmail.com.

Latest Posts