Sentara's assistance helps patient with medical bills
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (February 21, 2012) – Cindy Caskey of Virginia Beach had health insurance most of her life. As someone who always worked in “Corporate America,” health insurance was a given.
But in 2005 she followed her dream of becoming a Realtor. The high price of health insurance, coupled with the down real estate market in 2008-09, made it impossible for her to afford the premiums, so she had to make the difficult decision to drop her insurance.
“My children were grown and I was in good health, so I thought I would be fine,” she says. “I just couldn’t afford to pay $475 per month.”
But within a short time she began having pain that sent her to the emergency department at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. There she was diagnosed with gall bladder disease. Caskey “tried to live with it” for 30 days but she became jaundiced and increasingly ill and had to have emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder in March 2009. A follow-up surgery was needed to unblock a duct. The total medical bills reached more than $40,000.
| Sentara provides quality care to patients regardless of their ability to pay their bill. Cindy Caskey is grateful for the financial assistance from Sentara in dismissing a $30,000 hospital bill.|
Sometime later, Caskey read an article in Alt Daily, a local online publication, that reported that 85 percent of people who are eligible for help for their hospital bills never apply for help.
“I called Sentara and asked for the forms, and they were really easy to fill out,” she said. “I was hoping that they might reduce my bill some, but when I got the letter, it said that the balance I owed was zero on my $30,000 hospital bill. I couldn’t believe it!”
One doctor also forgave his bill, leaving Caskey with about $10,000 in some doctor bills and anesthesia, but she says she was relieved and grateful that the hospital bill was totally taken care of.
“Everybody at Sentara treated me with respect. Nobody thought less of me because I didn’t have insurance. I just want others to know that the help is there when you need it and to take advantage of it.”
Read more about Sentara’s mission of giving back to the communities we serve in the March 2012 Community Benefit Report.
March 2012 Community Benefit Report.
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