Ann S. was a client of the Premium Assistance program.
Ten years ago Ann S. had an unusual, high-risk cancer. Ann said she approached the experience like an everyday occurrence. She kept the family routines and obligations and did her best to have her life continue as before. Her main concern was that her three young daughters would stay on an even keel.
But as the bills kept coming, Ann had to figure out how to pay for her care. Though the hospital system that provided her care wrote off 80 percent of the charges for her treatment and surgery, the total bill was still massive: $750,000.
“I don’t know anyone who has that kind of money laying around,” Ann said. “I certainly don’t.”
Ann had no choice but to declare bankruptcy.
After she recovered, Ann still had to keep going to the doctor for checkups but avoided scheduling regular appointments because she didn’t have health insurance and wasn’t able to pay for them all out of pocket. She felt the threat of cancer returning hung over her head, and thought “if the cancer comes back, I’m not doing treatment again, I just won’t be able to afford it.”
In 2015, Ann’s primary care physician got concerned because Ann hadn’t had a mammogram in three years. Just like with appointments, she simply didn’t know how she’d pay for the tests.
The doctor suggested she contact Project Access NOW.
Ann was skeptical. “I never qualify for anything,” she said. But when Project Access NOW staff reviewed her information, Ann qualified for Premium Assistance, the program which covers the balance of premium costs after tax credits and most out of pocket expenses.
Since then, Ann has been able to get the care she needs: visit the doctor on a regular basis, have mammograms, and get post-surgery physical therapy. Even when she had an unrelated serious illness recently, Project Access NOW took care of the charges, amounting to thousands of dollars. Ann also didn’t have to switch doctors.
“It’s taken an immense weight off my shoulders,” Ann said. Not knowing how she would pay for all the medical bills and take care of her family put constant stress on her. “Now I’m able to actually enjoy life again. It’s not a stretch to say Project Access NOW saved my life.”