Marquesa Cole was feeling “overwhelmed.”
The 55-year-old Cincinnati resident, suffering from acute pain from arthritis, was doing her best to pay several thousand dollars in bills she had received from her city’s Christ Hospital, where she had gone for surgery on her knee and shoulder.
She was “trying to give as much as I could at the time” to pay on bills she owed, recalls Marquesa, who works in customer service for another Cincinnati hospital. But her wages were being garnished to cover the debt, taking hundreds of dollars out of every paycheck.
In late 2022, Marquesa heard about Dollar For and learned that she could qualify for charity care. Then, with the help of the national nonprofit, she applied for assistance in February. That same month, she heard the good news that she had been approved for a 50 percent reduction of that bill.
She still faces other medical bills, but after initially thinking Dollar For’s help “was too good to be true,” a thankful Marquesa says the financial help has taken a very large burden off of her mind.
“I didn’t know where else to go,” she says now. “It just has helped me, even by paying some of it, to manage my bills a little bit better.”
Before contacting Dollar For, Marquesa says, she almost didn’t feel like going to the hospital for needed appointments because she was worried about getting stuck with a new bill: “I thought, ‘This is another bill I’m going to have over my shoulder that’s going to have me worrying.’”
Even with insurance, the cost of paying a deductible for visits and tests can be overwhelming, she says. Fortunately, nonprofit hospitals must offer charity care programs, which can reduce or eliminate medical bills for low-to-middle-income patients.
Dollar For crushes medical bills by educating patients about these programs, and helping them through the application process. Dollar For so far has helped people get some $36 million in medical debt relief.
Dollar For, Marquesa says, was great to work with. Its representatives “kept me informed. I didn’t have to guess. They were right on the spot with everything, and very helpful.”