A veteran flight attendant, Alexandria Mann was going through a very challenging time in her life after her father died and she lost her job.
But things changed for the better after she googled “medical bill financial assistance” and first saw information about Dollar For.
Chicago-area resident Alex, who’s 34, had received a $2,590 hospital bill in May 2022 from Northwestern Memorial Hospital for a series of doctor visits.
But after she worked with Dollar For, the nonprofit helped her get that bill reduced by $2,013, almost 80 percent, to a much more manageable $577.
“I was surprised how much” the charge was lowered, says Alex, who began experiencing an extended depressive episode after losing her father in December 2020.
Due to her condition, Alex often wasn’t able to go to work, and because of her absences was subsequently let go by her employer.
A flight attendant for 10 years, she had lost her health insurance 30 days after leaving work, and was getting billed the full amount for her doctor visits. At the same time, she had no income.
Dollar For helps individuals like Alex check if they are eligible for financial assistance at their hospital, then prepare and submit applications to reduce – or even eliminate – medical bills. Dollar For’s services are free. It has helped patients crush over $23 million in hospital bills, and has been mentioned in press coverage by NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and many others.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to offer charity care programs to maintain their tax-exempt status. No one had told Alex, as she tried to find a way to pay her $2,500-plus bill, that charity care was an option.
“Literally, I was just trying to see what financial assistance I could get,” says Alex, who had received the bill in May 2022 and was worried about it going to collections and onto her credit report. She had already paid $1,100, in co-pays and other costs, for the doctor visits while she was working.
She turned to Dollar For in October. In January, she heard that her application had been approved. Now, with her medical debt reduced, a tremendous weight has been lifted off her shoulders.
The lesson she learned is, don’t be afraid to ask for help and to ask your doctor or your hospital if they offer any kind of financial assistance.
“And don’t be afraid to go to a doctor if you can’t afford it, because you need the help anyway,” she emphasizes. “There were a lot of times I didn’t go because I was worried about the bill. If you need it, go get the help.”
Now she can look to the future without facing the large hospital bill. She has started trying a new medication, and is in a new clinical trial. She is hoping to feel better, get back to a new normal routine, and get back to work again.
Dollar For’s help was a game-changer, she says: “They were really awesome – if I needed help doing something, they were right there, and there was no hesitation. They got it done.”
Read about other patients from Illinois: José, Sally, Ashley