Hospital Charity, 20% Off Bill (What to do if Denied State Aide for Pregnancy)

As I briefly mentioned in the first post on this blog, we didn’t make enough to afford health insurance and our current employment didn’t provide benefits. When Lisa became pregnant, we reached out to certain state aide programs but were denied for all of them on the basis that we make too much money. I will go into more details on our personal finances, the cost of health insurance, and what the cut offs are for state aide in a future post, but the point of this post is to talk about what to do if you don’t qualify for state assistance on the account of making too much money. (The short version is that we don’t make a lot of money and the thresholds to qualify are quite low.)

After being turned down on every other avenue we had no where else to look other than the hospital that will be providing the services. We met with a financial counselor and had to provide our Medicaid denial form, last 3 month check stubs, and last years tax returns. She explained to us that often, but not always, the hospital is willing to give financial assistance to people in our situation. It was relatively simple, we just had a quick 5 minute chat and gave the documents requested, yet it took nearly 7 weeks before we heard anything back. When we did hear back, we were told the hospital was able to provide us with what they called “a 20% charity reduction”.

So on all future bills it should show what we are charged at full price, the subtracted 20% charity reduction, and we will be responsible to pay for the remaining 80%. We also were able to setup a payment plan where we pay $200 flat per month with no interest. So basically, for every $1,000 in services, we have to pay $800.

This was good news and we are grateful the hospital is willing to help us out, so if you find yourself in a situation where you are turned down for any kind of assistance, I would recommend talking to the hospitals directly. If you are able to, you may want to sit down with more than one. We live in a small town so we only had one practical option available.

I estimate that after all is said in done our final bill will end up being around $12,000. So with this discount, that brings it down to $9,600 for a savings of $2,400. Again, this is just my guess based on some quick Google searches and talking to other people, and assumes no complications. I’m trying to focus on the positives – a savings of $2,400 is good (and two years of payments at $200 per month) instead of focusing on the final amount that will surely keep us in debt for years to come. Not to mention our little monkey that should bring us great joy.

So I’m happy we will be saving 20%, although the final amount we will have to pay still remains a mystery.

“I’m Pregnant”

She was one week late. She peed on the test. She showed it to me shortly thereafter. We were going to be parents. Shit.

Shock wasn’t even the first emotion that hit me, it was denial. I knew what the test said and I knew that she was pregnant, but maybe somehow she wasn’t. I wasn’t going to end up being a Dad. She wasn’t going to be a Mom. That’s just crazy talk!

It was July 21st at 8:00am that my wife and I found out we were going to be parents. We were not trying to have children. In fact, we had been discussing the matter and were both in mutual agreement to wait at least another 5 years before even trying. We were not emotionally or financially ready for such an endeavor. But as you find out in life, rarely do things go according to plan.

Who am I?

I’m not sure how personal I want this to end up being, but I’ll share a few details. My name is Todd. My wife is Lisa. We live in the good ole USA. We are both 26 years old and have been married for 3 years. Today is actually our anniversary… happy anniversary, Babe! Before getting married we were together for 6 years. Yes, we are high school sweet hearts. We don’t have the perfect relationship (who does) but we make an effort to grow together, fill each other’s love tanks, and communicate everything. We make a pretty good couple.

What’s the point of this blog?

At this point in time, I’m not sure. It’s conception (pun maybe intended) is largely due to me wanting to vent. I need to get all of this out and organized. As of now, my wife is about 10 weeks along and we both are still taken aback by the whole thing. We both have accepted it has happened and are now trying to move forward with the change, as best as we can. So yeah, I guess this is just another step towards moving forward.

But going beyond just what this will do for me, I want to share this experience as it unfolds so one day it could potentially help someone else. Perhaps you are reading this now and just found out you have an unplanned child on the way. Maybe you’re even like us and don’t have health insurance. Possibly me documenting this journey can help you out. I sure hope so.

The biggest concern we have right now can be summed up into one word, debt. As this blog progresses I will be going into more detail about all of this, but to sum it up in one sentence, this is our current situation: We don’t make enough to afford health insurance yet make too much to qualify for any kind of state aide. So that’s not fun.

What will I blog about?

Anything I feel like. But the main point is going to be explaining the costs associated with having a child without health insurance or government aide of any kind. I plan on blogging about how my wife or I is feeling, documenting all of our appointments, providing financial statements from the hospital, and anything else related to the pregnancy, our relationship, or lives in general as long as it doesn’t end up intruding our privacy.

So, yeah, there it is. We found out we are having a baby and we don’t have health insurance. Here’s to adding a second mortgage!