Jared Robson and his wife spend $10,000 a year for health insurance – which made the bill he got after a 2022 hospital visit all the more shocking.
Jared, a former hospitality worker who’s now studying to become a history teacher in Chico, California, had to have an emergency appendectomy while helping out his father on the family farm in Oregon. He later got a bill from Providence Medford Medical Center for $5,157.
“It was a vestigial organ that decided to go bottoms-up on me – it’s not like I decided to do something to irritate my appendix to the point where it needed to go away,” he recalls.
“There’s something galling about getting saddled with (a bill equal to) three months’ worth of income that wasn’t your fault, that you already pay insurance for. This was astronomical. We don’t have that (kind of money) laying around,” he says.
Jared, age 38, wound up spending 36 hours in the hospital.
His treatment was great, but getting hit with the bill – the $5,000+ was what insurance did not pay out of his overall $36,000 charge – made Jared feel panicked.
First he asked the hospital for an itemized bill, to make sure it was correct. Then he called the hospital to try to negotiate a discount. Then he looked into a payment plan with the hospital, but that had the Robsons paying $750 a month for six months. “That’s not a payment plan, that’s insane!” Jared recalls thinking.
That was when Jared’s wife heard a nurse on TikTok say something about how Dollar For can help people with their hospital bills. Dollar For helps patients check if they are eligible for charity care, then prepare and submit applications to eliminate medical bills.
Jared remembers thinking, “Hey man, we’re already out $5,500, we may as well reach out to them (Dollar For). We did, and here I am.”
Billed in September 2022, he applied with Dollar For in November and was approved for the charity care in January.
He and his wife, who works full-time as an environmental consultant, have a daughter who’s nearly 2. With a toddler, he says happily, life is “amazingly, wonderfully chaotic.”
While hospital officials did tell him he would be able to apply for financial aid to pay his bill, “it did not occur to me that that was something we would be qualified for,” Jared says. Plus, the information was not presented in a way that indicated it was likely to go his way or be anything but a complicated process, he adds.
On the other hand, working with Dollar For was “super easy,” taking him only some 15 minutes to fill out the necessary information.
When he heard the good news, Jared felt like he got “a $5,500 Christmas present. It really did make Christmas a lot easier. We just breathed a huge sigh of relief … (it’s) a huge slice of pressure that’s off of our shoulders collectively.”
Now Jared can stay in school. And the Robsons can keep saving for a down payment on another car – something a little newer and safer for their daughter to ride in. Jared adds: “Having that (bill) being waived is just tremendously huge.”