Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Send or Not to Send? …That is the Question.

As most of you know, my husband had a serious heart attack back in May of this year and while in the hospital also suffered a stroke. He has been retired for about 2 1/2 years and had very recently begun working part time for a Solar screen company prior to his heart attack. We didn’t have any insurance and have incurred quite a few medical bills.
To date: we’ve filed for charity on 3 different bills and were very humbled to find out that we had been accepted by these programs to receive funds   have our bills paid by them. That has been a tremendous blessing!
I might note here, that there are still charity hospitals in this country and that there are programs available. But you must do the work and follow the steps to get it done. That means some digging on your part. I had to make several phone calls and this only after being told—that we would NOT receive a letter saying we didn’t qualify for any Government assistance ( ie; Medicaid, SSI, Medicare, etc.). The hospital will look into these things for you; but that is it. After that it’s up to you to pursue the charity benefits.   You may be left in the dark after your initial try. But keep calling and be persistent sooner or later you’ll get either a live person—or a person who KNOWS what they are talking about.
That brings me to my question.
I'm about to send off Hardship Letters to several Doctors for bills incurred after treating my husband for his heart attack- without medical coverage. We've received charity already for the hospital portion, but still owe the different Doctors.
My Husband is unable to work at this time.  I babysit in my home but our income is very limited. Looking at our budget we’ve got about $80. a month that can be split about 11 different ways each month; even that is not much when you divide it between the doctors. We've not had insurance since he retired 2- 1/2 years ago. We don't get any help from the Government, Thankfully now my husband is being treated through the V.A.-- at the time we were not in that system. We've never in 28 years of marriage gotten government assistance; no food stamps, Medicaid, utilities, cash, housing; we’ve applied and still don’t ‘qualify’ now for anything. This has been a humbling experience for us. We are very grateful for the assistance we've received to date.
I'm curious as to what others think of Hardship letters and if you  would tell me your thoughts on our circumstances.
Would you send a hardship letter requesting a lowered bill if you were self-pay?
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father bethe glory forever and ever. Amen. Phil 4: 19-20 

* edited to add that this post was inspired after reading this post at Frugal Hacks

God Bless you and Thank you for reading.


gail@My Repurposed Life said...

Pat, I sort of went through the same thing with a hospital bill this year, and last year. The amount was small to some ($500) but to me, it would take 10 months to pay it. I could have done the charity, the hospital even sent me the papers. But because of my financial status (on paper) due to the fact that I still file taxes jointly with my estranged husband, I knew I would be turned down. I have fought for 15 months to get one bill paid. (there was a huge error, and it was paid, but not on record as being paid) After going through all of that, I didn't have it in me to go through the hoops only to be turned down.
Had I thought that they would have accepted me, I would have gladly gone through the trouble.
I say YES, I would send those letters! I have never understood why the uninsured pay more than the insured.
Good luck Pat! I'm hoping that this all gets behind you very soon. Assistance is nothing to be ashamed of, it's for hard times, and that is what is happening for you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, send the letters. Sometimes the insured get a price 'break' on a doctor's fee. Like in our insurance, if we see a doctor in their 'provider list' we pay a co-pay of $25.00 and the rest of the bill is paid by insurance at a greatly reduced rate. The insurance company negociates for a reduced that is just what you would be doing. Asking for the same break an insurance patient would get. Nothing more.
I am Roxie, I saw the Frugal Hack post, I posted before you.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I'd absolutely send the letters. I'd also see what other assistance you'd be eligible for. You all have spent years paying taxes that support various programs and I don't see any reason why people who are in real need shouldn't use those services.That's why I don't understand when people want funding cut for social programs. You never know if you're going to be in a situation where you might need that extra help.

Granny said...

You should send the letters and take whatever help you can get.

Dixiejet said...

By all means,send the letters ! Ya'll deserve it...<3

Anonymous said...

its like asking for a scholarship....send the will best to you...Mel

Kolein said...

Ask and ye shall receive!

Please fill me in on the particulars. We have some friends who may need some financial help with their medical bills. Who to write to? Call? etc.
if you have a moment.

Love ya!

The Boston Lady said...

I have been going through this with my brother-in-law for a couple of years and finally sought the help of an attorney advocate. You pay nothing - they will take a fee upfront of any payouts you receive. This is nothing to be ashamed of, it is just reality some days. These people know the ins and outs of the system. I have been fighting SSI/Disability on my own for 2 years and finally went to one of these legal experts. They get it done in a fraction of the time, yes they get paid, but so do you in the long run. My thoughts and prayes are with you. And this is why you paid taxes all your life, so you would have this right, should you need it. Hang in there Pat. Ann