It’s easy to picture her behind the wheel of a city bus, brightening the morning of passengers with a friendly smile, a big hello and a polite question or two about families or jobs.
But when friendly Kentuckian Rochelle H. had to retire on disability from her career as a bus driver, and was hit with a bill from a Louisville hospital she couldn’t pay, her sunny disposition was replaced by stress.
Rochelle, who’s 51, applied for disability after she started having problems with carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis in her hands.
She had to go to the hospital for tests, and then the pressure of having the nearly $2,000 bill to pay also was making her blood pressure go up.
She had applied twice before for financial help with her bill, but had been denied. That was when she saw a news item about Dollar For on WAVE 3 TV in Louisville.
And in just two months, her hospital bill of $1,787 had been crushed.
Rochelle had never heard of Dollar For but she used the 3-minute eligibility form on their website. It showed that Rochelle was financially eligible for charity care. Then Dollar For prepared and submitted her application to Norton Hospital in November 2022.
“They helped me through the process – I felt so much better,” Rochelle says, and she felt even better after she got the good news in January about her bill.
“It’s just such a relief to not have that hanging over my head,” she says.
Facing the hospital bill while still applying for difficult-to-obtain retirement disability made her feel discouraged and overwhelmed: “But Dollar For was definitely a ray of sunshine for me, because I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it.”
“It was like they were holding my hands through the whole process,” and they stayed in touch with her after her application was complete, Rochelle says.
“It was like when you go to the grocery store and ask, ‘Am I going to carry the hand cart to shop, or am I going to be able to push the cart?’ It was that big of a difference, it was awesome.”
“I’m telling people, ‘If you have a hospital bill you need help with, go to Dollar For, they can assist you – if you try to go through (working with) the hospital yourself, you might not be able to do it.’”
Going from working and getting a regular paycheck to getting paid once a month on disability retirement – and getting paid less – makes something like a large hospital bill very challenging, Rochelle notes.
She has an adult son, who’s 26, and no parent wants their children to have to worry about a parent’s finances, she adds.