Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Obi-Wan mission: 9/07

For the record: Obi-Wan is not a project or a trophy.

For the record: Obi-Wan is a mentor, friend, and grandfather to my kids.

Because of his place in life (age, poor health, lack of family, various disabilities, etc) and because of my availability in life, sometimes I get to help him do things that would be impossible for him to do or figure out alone.

Recently, we stumbled into something that could become a massive debt relief and proverbial godsend.

Due to all of Obi-Wan’s hospital stays from Feb 2006 to May 2007, he has racked up a moderate debt, especially for a guy who lives solely off a monthly social security alone.

One of his debts is from a local rehab outfit that hooked him up with his beloved “pegleg”. After Obi-Wan’s veteran’s benefits and so forth, the debt was still around $2800.

There ain’t no way in hell he could pay that off any time soon with his SS income.

So he gets the brilliant idea to call them and ask for some kind of payment plan. I thought that was a waste of a phone call since there’s no interest with medical debt and usually you just pay whatever amount you want monthly. So why ask for a pay plan? But he’s an old man. And you just don’t get an old man to change his mind.

So after the call, this rehab joint sends us an instruction page for some kind of application for hardship. IE: reduced or eliminated debt. Sounds nice. But the hoops to jump through looked fairly high and numerous, but not impossible.

So yesterday I call the person in charge of this to ask some questions.

Good news: the hoops weren’t nearly as high or as numerous as the letter stated.

Better news: for an elderly guy on fixed SS income, it’s almost guaranteed that their “committee” will vote for Obi-Wan to receive some kind of break on this debt.

I met with this person today and turned in the required paper work and etc. We should find out the committee’s decision within a week.

If I were the prayer soliciting kind of guy, I would ask all to pray that the CEO might soften the hearts of this committee and the whole $2800 be forgiven.

Thank you.


ericaprosser said...

I will believe for that.

Leanne said...

Oh! I didn't know you didn't know about this, B!!!!! Yes, they have harship applications at EVERY hospital. You can get info. for this through their business office. Granted, it usually only covers the hospital part of the bill and not any charges from doctors who are not employed by the hospital, but rather just contract w/ the hospital. It also won't cover any outside tests/labs, etc, but it does cover the hospital part of things.

And if you get approved for hardship with the hospital, all you have to do is then contact the practice the doctors contract with and tell them you have been approved for hardship. They almost always will offer you the same thing.

Oh, this is wonderful!!!!!! I can't wait to see how God knocks your socks off with this answer to prayer, B.


Cherryberry said...

I will believe for the entire debt to be resolved,
I know it is possible because I have had a large medical debt removed. I applied and the committee voted for the debt to be cleared.
Amen and Amen!

Agent B said...

Yes Leanne - this whole medical billing world is new to me. Thankfully, my family and I are extremely healthy and never had to deal with such.

So Obi-Wan (like myself assumes that when you get a bill, you pay it. Period. No other option.

It's surprising for me to discover that if you are considered poor by some committee, you could possibly have some or all of your bill eliminated.

We will definitely be taking advantage of this for now on.

And if this one works, hopefully the local hospital will do the same for Obi-Wan's $4600 bill...

Leanne said...

Oh, yes!
*warning, book below*

I found out the hard way after being turned away by a doctor who assumed I was a drug seeking welfare mom, when in actuality, I had spent my RENT money to see her because I could no longer stand up or move w/out pain so severe that I was unable to WORK at my temp agency.

When I told her I not only couldn't afford her prescriptions, but didn't want them either and asked for free samples of advil instead she got cold.

Then I got pissed.

Then I said, "Look. Pretend I have health insurance. Pretend money is no object. What would you do? If you can just tell me what you think is wrong and what you would test for then I can figure out a way to get it done. I just need something to go on."

She said, "Well, I mean, you need ultrasounds, xrays, lab work, and a pelvic exam because I think you either have cervical cancer or you have cysts!"

I said, "since I have just paid for an office visit can you at least please do the pelvic exam and give me orders for the other procedures?"

She said, "I guess." and then freaked out by what she found. Then she left the room and came back with a piece of paper-the golden ticket-that was for people who were uninsured, or underinsured and who fit the Federal poverty guidelines.

I called, they asked some questions, I emailed my financial documents to my church to have them printed off-'cause I didn't have ink for my printer-and then sent them in.

In the meantime, the business office said that if my doctor indicated I needed additional tests or procedures to go ahead and schedule them and tell the scheduler that I had just applied for hardship.

B, it was like A's story about M'bamie. There WAS a way, I had just finally gotten to the point where I had nothing left to loose.

It shouldn't be this way, but you know what? Now that I know, I tell EVERYONE I know.

I'm glad you know now, too.

Prayers for you and Obi-wan.