Pain, cold sweats and eventually a blackout landed Cherlene Erauda in the emergency room of a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Though her illness was relatively easy to treat, her medical bills were a different story.
After experiencing “major pain” on her side for some time, Cherlene, 24, said the day came when she could no longer ignore it. In her 10 minute ride to the emergency room, she was “freaking out,” thinking she had appendicitis and her appendix would burst at any moment.
Fortunately, her illness was less severe and she was initially treated with pain medication and IV. Later, she returned to the hospital with diminished pain and got more IV as well as a CAT scan, which on average costs patients $94, according to data from Medicare.
Cherlene’s treatment ended up totalling $9,000. While her health insurance covered $5,000, “I got a $4,000 medical bill for what was ultimately constipation,” she said.
The high cost of “being blocked up,” Cherlene said, made her regret getting medical treatment at all, though she acknowledged that “in the moment, you don’t know what’s happening and you deserve to have medical care.”
Worried about the thousands of dollars in debt she’d acquired in just two days, Cherlene searched for tips online to help her tackle her bill.
In a Facebook group called “Adulting” — in which people help each other answer questions about mortgages, car payments and other aspects of adulthood — Cherlene said she learned about Dollar For.
She gathered her pay stubs and other documentation and quickly filled out the form Dollar For provides.
“It took less than 30 minutes,” she said. Cherlene later got a similar form from the hospital, but she added that the Dollar For form was much easier to understand.
It took about two months for the hospital to process her application, and all the while she received guidance from Dollar For. In that time, she held off on making any payments and eventually, her medical bill was dropped to $1,000.
She described feeling “absolutely relieved,” when she got her new total and glad that she’d taken the time to research the bill online.
“They gave me a payment plan of $45 a month. And that’s way more feasible than $200 a month or whatever it would have been before,” she said.
Cherlene added that she would recommend anyone else in a similar situation also ask questions and consult with Dollar For to find a solution.
“I was extremely relieved, I could see myself really being lifted from this hole that debt is,” she said.