J. Amanda Nichol calls herself “one of those people who are super-healthy – the way I eat, the way I exercise, the way I sleep.”
The former New Jersey resident has lived in South Florida since 2019, exercises regularly and has a healthy lifestyle. But “for some reason, I’m in the hospital twice a year for some wackadoodle thing,” she says.
So far, doctors haven’t been able to determine why Amanda, a small business owner, suffers from headaches, plus intestinal and other problems.
That has meant lots of trips to the hospital and lots of tests – and, even though she has health insurance, thousands of dollars of medical debt.
With no idea how to pay her bills, she was listening to NPR one day when she heard about an organization that “changed my life” – Dollar For.
Working with Dollar For, Amanda was overjoyed to see a $6,631 bill from the University of Miami Hospital wiped out. She had tried to get the hospital to provide financial assistance, but kept getting refused.
After applying for charity care through Dollar For in September 2023, she was approved the next month: “I was amazed. It was the easiest thing ever.”
Amanda remembers a time several months ago when her doctor, very concerned about some symptoms she was showing, urged her to immediately go to the emergency room.
Before hearing about Dollar For, Amanda might have skipped going to the ER –- putting her health at great risk – because she was concerned about her ability to pay. Once, she was even in the ER at one hospital when she got a call from another hospital asking for payment.
With the bill from the University of Miami Hospital eliminated, Amanda is working with Dollar For to erase a $2,355 ER bill hanging over her head from a second area facility, Mt. Sinai Hospital.
Dollar For helps individuals like Amanda apply for charity care from their hospital. Dollar For is completely funded by donors, and its services are free.
“I scream Dollar For from the rooftops! You guys have been really amazing, to stick up for me … and I can continue to advocate for myself,” Amanda says enthusiastically.
Her advice to others facing massive medical debt? “Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t have the money. Call (Dollar For) immediately. And do not take no for an answer.”
It seems like the knee-jerk reaction from far too many health companies is to say no, Amanda adds: “Doctors care for us, but the corporations – it’s nuts! The emotional aspect of not having that hanging over my head is incredible.”