Mercy Lauriano was excited to welcome another daughter to her family’s routine as she homeschooled and cared for her children full-time in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
A few months after finding out she was pregnant, she knew something wasn’t right.
Through the pregnancy, Mercy had a condition that caused severe nausea and vomiting, leaving her wheelchair bound and unable to complete routine tasks. She lost the pregnancy not yet halfway through the term.
“Going through a divorce, in the midst of losing a child, is so hard. And then having the medical bills piling in – it was just so stressful. I don’t really have the words to describe how challenging that was. It was very depressing,” Mercy said.
She had to wait nine days from the time the baby passed until she was able to get together the $1,400 deductible she says the hospital required upfront for the delivery.
For weeks, the medical bills were the last thing on Mercy’s mind. While taking care of her other children, she also had to plan and pay for a funeral, all while grieving.
“Everything was very traumatic. And it’s heartbreaking that money was at the forefront for everybody else,” she said.
Even with insurance, Mercy was expected to pay a $4,900 hospital bill. She felt hopeless as she began researching ways to receive assistance with all the unexpected charges. Then, she found Dollar For on TikTok and decided to reach out.
Dollar For makes charity care known, easy, and fair. We help patients check if they are eligible for financial assistance at their hospital, prepare and submit applications, and eliminate medical bills. Our services are completely free – no strings attached.
Soon, Mercy heard back from a Patient Advocate. Patient Advocates are Dollar For staff trained to guide people through applying for medical debt relief. With their experience helping forgive millions of dollars of medical debt, they know how to work with billing staff and handle complications that arise in the application process.
While they waited for the financial assistance application to be processed, Mercy continued to receive letters threatening to take the bill to collections and add it to her credit report.
Medical debt leaves millions of Americans trapped in a cycle of sickness and poverty. Unpaid medical bills on credit reports make it harder to get a job, rent a house, or buy a car.
The Affordable Care Act requires nonprofit hospitals to offer financial assistance programs to reduce or eliminate medical bills for low-to-middle income patients. Mercy said she told hospital staff at her intake that she didn’t know how she would pay. Nobody told her about receiving financial assistance.
Dollar For followed up with the hospital on Mercy’s behalf over a period of six months before hearing any updates. And then, the news arrived: Mercy qualified for the bill to be completely eliminated.
“I honestly cried because I didn’t think it was going to happen,” she said. “Therapy has also been expensive but I have to work through the loss of my daughter to be a good mother to my kids. And not having this weight of ‘how do I pay the [hospital] and still take care of myself’ is such a relief.”
Mercy found support through a group of bereaved mothers, supporting each other physically, mentally, and emotionally. She was excited to share the news with them and others who, like her, feel like they’re “drowning” in the midst of tragedy.
“Dollar For and I fought together and they helped me keep going. If you’re having a hard time with whatever the medical debt is, don’t give up. There’s still hope,” she said.
You don’t have to face medical bills alone. Dollar For can check if you are eligible for financial assistance, send you tips on applying, or even submit an application to the hospital on your behalf. Start now with our three-minute questionnaire.