Friday, August 20, 2010


Back in May as I was preparing to start cardiac rehab, I had to first attend a consultation appointment so that I qualified to start. They went through important questions such as: when was your surgery {March 16} , what did they do {pulmonary valve replacement}, real or mechanical {real, pig valve}, how are you feeling {good, no chest pain}, etc.

After that they moved on to more emotional questions: how are you feeling after the surgery {doing good}, do you feel depressed {no}, was this a surprise {yes and no}...

And they finished with: do you have any financial stress in your life right now{ um... YES}

The lady did a double take when I answered yes and gave me a puzzled look as to why I had financial stress in my life.

So I gave her a quick recap: I had heart surgery in March and the surgery and hospital charges are currently over $150,000. Now I'm about to start rehab and my insurance informed me it would be a separate deductible that I have to meet. My husband and I work for a private university, he's still in school and I just graduated. Do you see where my financial stress comes from?!

So needless to say, Cody and I have had a lot of financial stress this year. The total charges for my surgery and hospital stay were around $158,000. {It is unbelievable to see that number on a bill. Like jaw dropping unbelievable.} The actual bill was only {take the word only with a grain of salt!!} $3800, which was still a huge amount to us. On top of that, insurance did not make it sound like my cardiac rehab was going to be covered, so we were looking at another $3,000 for it.

After we had an idea of what the both bills would be, I called the Cleveland Clinic to see if they could do anything to help reduce the rate. We found out that if you pay it in full, you get an automatic 25% discount at any time. So we could at least start making small payments and once we decided to pay in full, get the discount. They also told me I could apply for the assistance program, which we decided to do.

So fastforward several weeks. We haven't heard anything from the clinic about the assistance program. I'm about a month into rehab and we know the first bill should be coming soon. We did talk to the hospital that I was doing rehab at and they too offered us a discount, though it was still going to be expensive. I got the first bill for the Cardiac Rehab consultation and only had to pay a $35 copay.

As the next month of rehab concluded, I waited for the next bill to come in, which would be a kicker since it would have 5 weeks of sessions, with 3 rehab sessions a week. The bill never came.

I finished the next month of rehab and again, the bill never came. While I was slightly worried that we were about to get a call from a collection agency saying the hospital turned us in for not paying our bill, I decided to wait it out and finish rehab before I checked on it.

As I neared the end of rehab, I got a thick envelope in the mail from our insurance company {which is not usually a good thing!} Inside were several pieces of paper listing out all of my cardiac rehab sessions and what the costs should be. Each month was well over $1500 in charges.

At the bottom of the page were the scariest words possible: AMOUNT YOU MAY OWE PROVIDER.

I will admit there was a part of me that didn't want to look. I could just wait a few more weeks until the actual bill came in. In no way did I expect to be greeted with the sweetest answer possible: $0.00

Absolutely nothing! It turns out the insurance company told us wrong and other than the co-pay for the consultation appointment, everything else was covered! To say this was a huge relief is quite the understatement!

Now all we were waiting on was news about the Cleveland Clinic bill. For several months in a row {think May to August} every bill we received showed the full amount owed, with the exception of the $25 payments I was making every couple of weeks.

I happened to get another bill emailed to me this week. I opened it up and was prepared to go make another small payment as we waited to hear about the adjusted amount on the bill and my jaw dropped again! It said the total amount owed was $1,777.29, which is obviously much less than the first bill! I could not believe they were willing to drop the amount so much for us! I quickly told Cody that I was going to pay off the full amount {before they could change their minds!} and see if we could still get the 25% discount.

After the surgery and in the midst of cardiac rehab, we were mentally prepared to pay amounts well over $6,000. We weren't quite sure how we were going to do it or how many months it would take to pay it off, but we knew somehow it would work out.

Now that it is all said and done, Cody and I paid roughly $1300 for my hospital bills and the co-pays. It is almost unbelievable for me to write that. I knew all along the Lord was taking care of the details in the bills, yet the amount we had to pay is beyond my wildest dreams.

We are so thankful to be celebrating today, a little more than five months down the road, our financial stress gone and no extra debt to our names. We are grateful indeed!

"Oh how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus." 1 Tim. 1:14


  1. Abby that is so amazing!! I know financial stress is something that can be so scary and I am so happy for you and Cody to not have that burden!

  2. I know you wrote this a while back, but I just read it. And it came at just the right time. With my financial status what it is, I feel like "preparing for my future" was the biggest set back financially I could have ever imagined. But I know I followed God's lead. So thank you for writing this. It is an excellent reminder of God's grace and awesome surprises!


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