I’m reaching out once again, for some of the forum members’ wisdom regarding managing another aspect of this illness. Libby is in her third inpatient visit and has 3 ER trips plus an inpatient stay in the last ten days. While I have a pretty decent plan through BCBS, in the past year I’ve accrued $7,000 in medical debt, not counting what’s being processed now. I have another $3,000 deductible with a $9,000 cap. My income is about $35,000 a year. I’m slapping band-aids on everything, making minimum payments but I have no idea how to pay for all this. Does anyone have any suggestions, other than SSDI which we can’t get yet? I’ve tried to apply for Medicaid for her and been denied. My income is $200 a year more than the maximum. I’m trying to apply for the hospital’s financial assistance but that doesn’t take care of the mental health hospital. They will reduce somewhat but generally speaking, there’s only so much they can do. Is there anything else I can try to do? Letting these bills just go isn’t really an option because we will need these providers in the future.
Where are you - what country / state / Province?
Assuming you’re in the USA - I recommend you contact your local NAMI office - they usually have lots of information on this type of thing:
Texas. I think our Nami might be defunct.
Healthcare is so expensive in this country!
One thing I can suggest is to ask BCBS for a case manager to work with you. They have special programs for people with chronic diseases. Maybe they can help you save some money.
Definitely work with the hospital to work out a payment plan for your bills. Get a minimum payment that you can afford.
Finally, if you are only $200 over for qualifying for Medicaid, there are legitimate ways to “hide” that money so you could qualify. Problem is you need to find an hc atty to help you.
Local NAMI groups can be hard to find. There is an active Texas state NAMI - mainly political I believe, but I could be wrong. Your closest might be namiaustin.org
Do you have a social worker at the hospital? Social workers have access to the pharmacy companies that provide their meds for free to low income folk and their structures might not be as low as Medicaid income thresholds. You can research the individual companies as well. These programs are real, you just have to find them and see if you qualify. Usually the applications are quite short, if you go through a social worker it seems to be more credible in our experience with the transplant immunosuppressives.
Our family member had free meds for awhile from the company that made them. $1200 a month is cost at every pharmacy.
Would you consider moving to another country like Canada. It’s really unfortunate i’m sorry I don’t mean to offend in anyway. I make $3500 a year my moms injections cost $1200 a month her other medication around $300. I pay $25 a month this covers all her hospital visits she has been hospitalized twice in two months staying in the hospital for 5 weeks. I know their would be a waiting process at first but after the process of immigrating it would get easier. She can not work either but she receives a disability check and living assistance. So much is covered here. We also have some free legal aid assistance. Sorry sorry the only other idea I can think of outside the box is a go fund me page.
@chloe there’s nothing wrong with your suggestions. Universal Healthcare is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately my heart belongs to Texas now, so I can’t possibly leave. But I have considered bankruptcy (too early), government programs, and I have a GoFund me page (with $40 in a donation). Our best option is SSDI but that could take two years or longer. Somehow I have to find a way to make it work short term. Medicaid has a spend down program ($2500) that may help a little but that just pays providers, not reimbursing me. Her therapy and psychiatrist plus mine is about $600 a month and that’s what’s hurting us. Plus my $3,000 deductible which is due to the local hospital.
I am going to figure something out, somehow. I am doing as much overtime as I can right now (10-20 hrs a week). And trying to set up payment plans. But my financial situation is ruined for the foreseeable future, possibly the next decade if this continues.
We’re looking at bankruptcy too.
Medical bills have a statute of limitations that you can possibly use to avoid bankruptcy. If you have judgments, garnishments, or liens against you, those can only be discharged with bankruptcy as they have the most weight legally. Everything else can usually be disputed or re-negotiated. Creditboards.com is an excellent resource I have used for 10+ years. I would get educated there first about bankruptcy and credit.
If anyone wants to talk to the press about how hospital / medical bills are destroying their lives, I saw this in my Facebook feed today:
Have you filed for bankruptcy because of medical bills? Or have health costs cut your income to the point where you’re close to poverty? NPR would like to hear your story. Send an email to NPRcrowdsource@NPR.org with “medical bills” in the subject line, and a reporter may contact you for a story.