You might think Cesar Ducusin has had enough on his mind since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer five years ago.
But the retired engineer, who lives in northern California, also has had to contend with how to pay large hospital bills after the surgery and follow-up treatment needed to keep his cancer at bay.
“My bills kept increasing, because I am only on Medicare, and Medicare can only pay 80 percent” of the charges, 67-year-old Cesar says. “With this continuous treatment, the bills will be piling up.”
But Cesar got some much-needed help after a social worker at one of the facilities treating him told him about the work of Dollar For.
Cesar contacted Dollar For in late 2022, and within several weeks, a $1,380 bill from Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, Calif., had been crushed.
“Sequoia Hospital responded fast. It was quite a big relief,” for Cesar, his wife, and their four children and grandchildren, he says.
Along with the cancer surgery at Sequoia he had in 2019, he has had chemotherapy and other treatment at the Bay Area’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation in the years since his initial diagnosis. It was at the Palo Alto facility where the social worker told him about Dollar For.
Dollar For, whose vision is that “a medical crisis shouldn’t mean a financial crisis,” helps patients apply for financial assistance for hospital bills. Its services are completely free – no strings attached.
Cesar initially thought “it would be a big relief” once the initial cancer surgery was complete. But he has come to realize that the surgery does not always completely remove all of the cancer, and follow-up treatment has been needed.
He received his bill from Sequoia in November, applied for the debt forgiveness in December, and got the good news of his approval in January.
He’s continuing to work with Dollar For on reducing a $3,281 bill he still has from Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Cesar had moved to California in 2004 from the Philippines, where he worked in the engineering and construction field helping in the design of oil platforms.
For Cesar, having the $1,380 removed is “a big relief already. Dollar For helped me apply for financial assistance, and they responded good,” he says.
Dollar For aims to make charity care known, easy and fair, and has brought about more than $24 million in medical debt relief.
Read about other retirees who have crushed their medical debt: Carolyn, Ronald, and Rochelle.