Friday, March 13, 2009

A Praise

Ever since we brought the boys home, I've felt like I've been swimming in medical bills. Every week, it seemed, I would be receiving a new statement, a new explanation of benefits from the insurance company, a new bill. Finally, one by one, they all started falling into place until we were only down to three, two of which we had figured out a payment plan for and were sending in monthly payments. Thank God for great insurance. But then there was St. Luke's.

Holy mercury, I've never jumped through so many hoops in my life! I initially placed a call in to their billing department, thinking that I would be able to set up a payment plan in about 5 minutes like I was able to with Emmanuel in Portland. No dice. Their idea of a minimum monthly payment was almost $200, not something we can afford while paying other medical bills. In order to possibly get a lower monthly payment, I'd have to fill out an application, get copies of varies peices of paper like bank statements, pay stubs, W2's, etc, and send them all in to be looked over, after which we would be informed within 3 weeks as to whether we qualify. Fine, send me the paperwork.

A week and a half pass by, no papers. Finally I received a bill from St. Luke's stating that our $2000+ payment is due NOW, check or visa, thank you very much. I call the billing department again and ask the gal, very nicely, what the heck they're thinking. Sure enough, my request for the application was noted, but the paperwork never sent out. Never fear, she says, I'll send it right out, call me if you haven't gotten it by Monday.

Get the paperwork, fill it out (pain in the BUTT, they want a detailed budget of ALL of your household spending, debt, income, etc...thank goodness I already have this calculated out thanks to Dave Ramsey), collect all the other miscellanious paperwork they want, fax it in, and just KNOW that for some reason we aren't going to qualify. Oh me of little faith.

Day before yesterday, I get a letter in the mail from St. Luke's.

"Dear Lindy Labunski:

Your account has been reviewed for possible financial assistance. After review of the submitted financial documentation, it has been determined you do meet eligibility guidelines for partial fanancial assistance on the accounted referenced above."

Yadda yadda yadda.

Oh my heck! Not only did we qualify, they slashed just under $2000 off of our bill, leaving us with just under $500 to pay off. Keep in mind that these babies, and everything surrounding them, ran up a bill of over a quarter of a million dollars at St. Luke's alone.

Because of this and our steadfast determination to follow a strict budget, I've figured out that we should be able to pay off all of our debt except the house and student loans by the end of this year, if not sooner (barring any major life changes). That's only 9 months away! I can't even tell you how much I've felt God's blessing on our attempts to be better stewards of our money, and how many times He's provided for us financially. It's amazing to me how little money we really can live on. People give me funny looks when I pull out my wallet of envelopes, not to mention when we pay with cash, but I don't care. It's all worth it and we're never going back.

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