August 2021: It was just another normal day in Woodbury, GA. Then, while working part-time in the grocery deli at Ingles, retiree Carolyn Copeland’s life suddenly changed forever when she had a stroke.
Carolyn was rushed to the Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center to get a stent in her artery. She was in the hospital for four days before going home, at which point she still had nurse visits multiple times a day to check vitals and assist in therapy for her hands, face, and legs.
In the midst of recovery, the bills started to arrive. Receiving the bills was a surprise for Carolyn. Wellstar kept calling, asking her to pay something, reminding her each time of her bill total. “They put more stress on you by calling and calling and calling.”
At one point they had mentioned financial assistance, but Carolyn was incredibly overwhelmed and in no condition to be chasing down and filling out paperwork. She needed to focus on her physical therapy. Carolyn was also in shock because she thought that her insurance would cover more than they did.
Carolyn didn’t have the money to pay the hospital and was out of work while focusing on getting better. She was living on Social Security that barely covered her normal costs, not leaving anything to pay the hospital bills. Carolyn was really stressed and didn’t know what to do.
One day, her sister mentioned Dollar For to Carolyn. It seemed too good to be true. Carolyn couldn’t believe that someone would help her pay off her bills. “It’s probably going to be a waste of time, but I’m going to do it anyway,” she thought. It wasn’t.
Working with Dollar For was easy. She filled out the eligibility form in December 2021 and shortly afterward, she heard back from a Patient Advocate. Patient Advocates are Dollar For staff trained to guide people through applying for medical debt relief. With their experience helping to forgive millions of dollars of medical debt, they know how to work with billing staff and handle complications that arise in the application process.
In July 2022, Wellstar emailed Carolyn and confirmed she was approved for financial assistance. Her bill of almost $1700 would be reduced to about $200. With her bill reduced so much, Carolyn was able to set up a manageable $10 a month plan to pay off the rest.
Carolyn plans to pass on the information she has learned about Dollar For in hopes of helping someone else. She is very thankful that her sister relayed it to her. Carolyn doesn’t know what she would have done if Dollar For didn’t help. Now she can continue to focus on walking everyday to strengthen her legs, and once again living a normal life.
Do you have medical debt? See if you qualify for free help from Dollar For by filling out a three-minute questionnaire.