Michele Patti lives in scenic Denver where she is working hard to finish graduate school to be a mental health counselor. In addition to full time courses at the university, she has a part time job just to make expenses meet for herself and her husband.
Already in debt from student loans, Michele was not expecting $11,000 worth of bills after a medical encounter. “I saw a doctor in the hospital for less than five minutes and got a bill for $1000 from a company I never heard of. I had a five-minute consultation for a test I needed and was charged another $400 just for the consultation!”
Working part time as a student, Michele had no health insurance and knew she would have to drop out of school to pay this debt. “I was floored when I got the bills. I knew there was absolutely no way I could pay for these.” Even the payment plan the hospital offered wasn’t realistic for her budget.
A self-starter, Michelle took it upon herself to find help. “I filled out the application for Colorado’s Medicaid plan, but didn’t qualify.” The hospital staff had given her an application for charity care while she was hospitalized, but she was too sick to understand it at the time.
Then Michelle’s husband saw a post about Dollar For on Instagram. “I heard back in just a day or two! It was great to have someone who had the experience to help fill out these forms.”
Michelle actually filled out the form herself, using the do-it-yourself instructions to apply for hospital financial assistance she found on Dollar For’s website. That’s always an option, or patients can rely on Dollar For’s trained patient advocates to do it for them.
After working with Dollar For, over 80% of Michele’s bills were forgiven. “I cried when I found out. I was so relieved.” Instead of dropping out and facing years of debt, Michele will now be able to fulfill her dream of being a mental health counselor.
Michele says she wants to spread the word about Dollar For so that other people can have the support she felt as Dollar For “covered all the bases and followed up with me all the time.” Her advice is to check for financial assistance programs, and then go straight to Dollar For to see if you’re eligible for help with your bills.