Hey y’all. As you may know, about two years ago I was hit by a pickup truck while riding my bicycle. I broke both my legs and shattered a knee and got a concussion (tw: gross pictures here). The driver was charged with a DUI.
I had no health insurance at that time and my total medical bills exceeded $100,000.
Luckily, my attorney did some serious negotiation with the hospital and they settled the majority of my account for a much smaller amount, which was paid by the other driver’s insurance company. I also had access to $15,000 through the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Fund; this money was sent directly to most of the (relatively) smaller bills that were not included in the main hospital bill, such as the ambulance ride, x-rays, individual physicians, etc.
Right now, I only have one bill remaining: $12,250 owed to the orthopedic clinic. This is for checkups during the beginning of my recovery, physical therapy sessions, outpatient x-rays, and the metal hardware in my legs (see x-rays here).
I have been making out-of-pocket payments towards this bill for over a year and a half ($30-$100/month depending on what I can afford) and so far the clinic has been nice enough to not send the account to collections even though the total balance is technically long overdue. But even if I can pay $100/month (the most I can reasonably afford considering my current income and living expenses), it would still take 10 years to pay this off. So far I’ve paid a total of $516 since August 2013. I have a full-time job. I only have a few hundred dollars in (emergency) savings. I have a number of other debts I’m trying to manage as well. I have lousy credit and I am not qualified to take out a loan for this much money, either.
Some people have told me that the other driver who hit me should be responsible for paying this bill, and I have suggested that to the District Attorney who is handling this case. But even if that person is legally required to pay my bill, that doesn’t mean I’m going to receive the full amount all at once… or anytime soon… not to mention it does little good for me if the person who is court-ordered to pay my bill can’t afford it as much as I can’t afford it!… and either way, the bill remains in my name (and attached to my credit score).
Also, I recently tried to make an appointment at the Orthopedic Clinic to see about getting some of the metal hardware removed from my knee, since that may reduce the pain I have. Even though I have health insurance now, they told me I couldn’t make any new appointments until I take care of my outstanding balance.
I feel really embarrassed and self-conscious about making a fundraiser because I feel like as an Adult with a Job, I should be able to HANDLE IT, ya know… and I am afraid of this sounding like a ~sob story~ but for real: I am 30 and I have been in some kind of overwhelming debt or another for literally my entire adult life. In the past year I have finally been able to pay off all the bad debts I had and start rebuilding my credit very slowly. My debt-to-income ratio is still scary but at least I don’t owe anything to a collection agency right now, for the first time in like a decade! So I would be totally overjoyed if I can get this one last medical bill paid off before it gets sent to collections and messes up my financial life all over again.
So please, if you can contribute to this fundraiser, any amount helps! Or if you would prefer to receive a physical item in return for your money, please consider supporting me by purchasing a photography print through my Society6 page, or buying a zine, patch, or monotype from my Etsy page. I can also accept PayPal donations to cicada_drone at yahoo dot com.
~*~ T H A N K * Y O U ~*~
Feel free to ask me any questions you may have, and please share/reblog/signal boost this post!
PS Re: Financial accountability, I will be keeping copious documentation of all money received as a result of this fundraiser. (I am in accounting school! I am very organized & I love to make spreadsheets! I save receipts! :). I will post follow-ups with scans of my monthly statements from the orthopedic clinic bill to show exactly what got paid.