CHA helps Elizabeth reduce her medical debt

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“I didn’t have health insurance, which wasn’t a problem until, suddenly, it was.”

After finishing graduate school, Elizabeth worked as a waitress while she searched for a teaching position. Her waitressing job did not provide health insurance, which proved to be a problem when she suddenly fell seriously ill and was hospitalized for 11 days. While in the hospital, Elizabeth was able to sign up for Medicaid, but was denied retroactive coverage for the bills she had already incurred. The bills from the hospital, her primary care physician, surgeon, anesthesiologist, and radiologist totaled over $10,000. “The hospital bills were mindboggling,” Elizabeth recalls.

Elizabeth turned to Community Health Advocates at the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County, where a CHA Advocate helped her resolve her medical bills over the course of several months. The CHA Advocate helped Elizabeth apply for hospital financial assistance, and negotiated with multiple providers and hospitals that were awaiting payment. Eventually, the hospital agreed to waive the remaining bills, and the providers reduced their bills. In the end, CHA helped Elizabeth eliminate almost all of her medical debt.


"My CHA Advocate was available to help me manage every step of the process. After a full year's worth of struggle and advocacy, we have whittled the grand total down to under $500. I cannot adequately express my appreciation, and especially my CHA Advocate, who supported me in my time of need!" -- Elizabeth