Connie Young wasn’t sure where to go when she needed treatment after an injury to her knee.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life that I haven’t had very many medical issues with me or my family. You don’t really have time to research which of the 15 [hospitals] within five minutes you should go to,” she said.
She ended up in the emergency room at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital of Indianapolis after a domestic dispute. There, she received treatment for a cut to her kneecap, so deep she could see the bone.
Fortunately, Connie was able to quickly return home to her two sons and go back to work with stitches in her knee.
A few weeks later, the bills came in from the ER, physician, and radiology. At the time of her visit, Connie had a lapse in health insurance as she went through a divorce. The $2,600 in unexpected charges was daunting.
Connie’s situation wasn’t unusual. About half of all American adults lack the resources to pay an unexpected medical bill of $500, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“I have every intention of paying the things that I need to pay and taking care of myself and my kids. The bill was just so giant and looming over my head,” Connie said.
She began looking on Google for ways to make the bill more manageable or receive assistance. Soon, she found Dollar For.
Since 2019, Dollar For has worked with patients to submit thousands of financial assistance applications – crushing over $22 million in medical debt.
Under the Affordable Care Act nonprofit hospitals must offer charity care programs to keep their tax-exempt status. These financial assistance programs reduce or eliminate medical bills for low-to-middle income patients.
Connie filled out Dollar For’s three-minute eligibility form. She soon discovered she qualified for financial assistance through the hospital. One of Dollar For’s patient advocates made contact and submitted the application on Connie’s behalf.
One month later, the $2,213 emergency room bill was completely waived.
“This whole episode – it’s just one other thing on top of everything else. The comfort and the security that I felt every step of the way, with Dollar For in the emails that I got, it really was just a lifesaver,” Connie said.
In the process, Connie’s learned a lot about the U.S. healthcare system and herself. She has since found a health insurance plan of her own. Getting the bill wavied allowed her to focus her attention on all the children in her life – her own and those she cares for as a nanny.
Since she found relief, she’s encouraging others to stand up and be a champion for themselves.
“Now I have this really gorgeous scar to constantly remind me of just how strong I am and what I went through to get where I am today,” she said.