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In Tom Toles' March 11 cartoon, a physician -- wearing what looks like paper 3-D glasses -- examines a patient. In the background rests a box, labeled "HMO-Approved Tests," that is spilling over with household fix-its. With this in mind, I feel it is only right to counter this image with the facts about my own HMO coverage.

My 1-year-old son has suffered from severe food allergies since birth. Needless to say, he has had to visit a specialist and endure several diagnostic tests and trips to the emergency room.

With the help of fine medical professionals, we are learning how to stabilize his condition. Independent Health has paid for all of his care,minus a small co-payment.

Many Western New Yorkers cannot afford health insurance. I cannot imagine the nightmare of having to endure my son's medical trials while also having to worry about paying for them. Health coverage is no joking matter when a loved one is sick. It must be dependable. In my opinion, Independent Health is doing a fine job of ensuring that members have access to the best medical care available.

Michele Torrillo West Amherst

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