7/27/16

Holly's story: With me every step of the way

Financial Assistance Program busts up barriers on the path to health

They’ve had their share of worry-filled, sleepless nights, but Arnie and Holly Lober—Leroy residents and Carle patients since 1983—have a new appreciation for the facility that has provided their healthcare for more than 30 years. 

In 2015, the Carle Financial Assistance Program covered 100 percent of their medical expenses, and even helped the couple get free or discounted medications to help control their chronic health problems.

“I called the billing office because I never saw a bill,” said a grateful Holly with her husband of 34 years. “They told me it was paid in full.”

Arnie, 81, and Holly, 65, had always worked. They were careful about saving money, and budgeted diligently for a no-frills retirement. And then the unexpected happened.

After 15 years of pain, Holly learned she had a rare and severe genetic disorder. She spent seven weeks in the hospital and follows a long-term treatment plan. Arnie copes with insulin-dependent diabetes, a slew of medications, and a worsening problem that leads to blindness if left untreated.

The Lobers spent their retirement accounts, forcing them to depend on Social Security. Holly did some research and found Carle’s Financial Assistance Program.

But applying for the financial assistance program, also known as charity care, didn’t come easy. Despite their own money concerns, Arnie and Holly spent half a year debating if they should apply, worried they would take assistance away from others who needed it more than they did.

“Fortunately, that’s not how our financial assistance program works,” said Jodi Eeten, Patient Financial Services manager.

“We want everyone who qualifies for help with their medical bills to get the assistance and peace of mind they need.”

And peace of mind is exactly what the Lobers got.

Financial assistance allowed them to get the care they needed—including surgery that saved Arnie’s eyesight. And it eased their pharmacy costs, like $1,000-per-month pills, so they could have the medication they both desperately need.

“I can’t tell you how overjoyed we were when we got the letter saying we were accepted into the program,” said Holly, moved to tears. “In this whole process, I learned it’s OK to have medical problems and to not feel inferior because you can’t afford it.

“There were days we literally had to decide between eating meals, buying prescriptions or going to a critical doctor’s appointment. Now we can lay our heads on the pillow at night and know all of it is taken care of.”

In 2015, Carle’s Financial Assistance Program provided more than $30.6 million in free or discounted care to nearly 34,000 patients, just like the Lobers. To see if you qualify, visit https://carle.org/billing/financial-assistance or call Patient Financial Services at (888) 71-CARLE.