Donors Help Members Struggling to Cover Their Medical Bills
Life can change in an instant.
Brandy Cruz-Pedro and her family learned this frightening truth when her husband, Nemorio, had to undergo two surgeries following a traumatic brain injury.
"Suddenly my husband couldn't work, so we lost our principal source of income," Brandy says. "After he left the hospital, I had to stay home from my own job to care for him. With three children to feed, medical bills, and the other expenses all families must deal with, we didn't know how we were going to make it."
Nemorio's second brain surgery was scheduled for Dec. 27 of last year. Fortunately, the family are Group Health members, so the delicate procedure would be performed by an expert neurosurgical team. But the holiday season was looking bleak. There wouldn't be enough money for presents for the kids let alone the mortgage payment.
Then an unexpected phone call changed everything.
"A Group Health social worker contacted me and said that we were eligible for the Sponsored Care Program," Brandy explains. "Group Health would help us with our copays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket medical costs for the next six months as well as six months back. It was such a relief."
The Group Health staff members were so compassionate and helpful during this difficult time. Several even adopted the family at the holidays and provided gifts and groceries. "It meant so much that people noticed and cared about us," Brandy says. "We'll always be grateful for the kindness we received."
For many working families, disaster is just one illness, job loss, or other tragedy away. The Sponsored Care Program provides a temporary safety net for members of our Group Health family during difficult times and it serves as a bridge to long-term assistance such as Medicaid or Medicare disability.
Many of those who receive this special help are struggling in the aftermath of a catastrophic accident, the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness such as cancer, or major surgery. Some are coping with serious chronic diseases such as Parkinson's or diabetes.
Group Health members can be referred by Group Health staff to receive Sponsored Care or apply on their own. To be eligible for health care assistance, members must be at a certain income level and meet other requirements. Donations to the Sponsored Care Fund of the Group Health Foundation help cover medical expenses in our effort to bridge the gap for those most in need.
To donate to the Sponsored Care Fund, use the "Donate Now" button at the top of this page or download and mail in a donation form (PDF) or contact us at 206-448-7330 or toll-free at 1-866-389-5532. (Group Health Cooperative and Group Health Permanente staff can find the appropriate forms on InContext by searching for "Foundation.")