Cancer/medical bills, insurance

$17,685 of $34,800 goal

Raised by 307 people in 56 months
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

I originally started this gofundme March 1, 2014 and that raised $16,855 which was used strictly for medical bills for cancer (2 in one year, one with no cure - these were cancers 2 and 3 - breast cancer now on both sides and follicular non-hodgkin's lymphpma, the incurable one) and health insurance premiums (I live in a state that did not expand mediciad and I don't make enough for a subsidy so have to pay full price).  Since then occasionally someone has made an additional donation which has been very helpful since financially I live below the poverty line. That money ran out a while ago but I had secured enough employment I was generally more or less able to pay my bills. I chose to be homeless so that I could pay my medical bills and health insurance premiums (was homeless for 19 mo, living with various friends, and finally am in HUD housing, still get food stamps, but I do work).

I revived my gofundme  December 1, 2016 because I am currently in a bind with MD Anderson Cancer Center over part of my bill (originally sent to collection but then they pulled it back earlier this month). They want me to pay off, now, $4203.82, and refuse to roll that over into my existing payment plan (I am currently making payments of $141/mo and I can't afford more than that which is why they won't roll it over). If I do not do this then they will cut off care until I have paid that portion off. This is why I have revived this gofundme - to try to pay off that bill (and if you'd like to send money to MD Anderson Cancer Center directly contact me and I will give you the needed information).

My health insurance is going from $957/mo in 2016 to $1119/mo in 2017 and the deductable/out of pocket is going from $5000 to $6000. This is more than I make. Several months ago I was laid off from my half time job I had held for 18 months and only have a 1/4th time one left. I am still looking for additional work.  I am not sure I how I will meet these bills. 

My main concern at the moment is the MD Anderson Cancer Center bills and a couple of months of health insurnace (hoping I can find enough employment again that I can pay everything). 

I appreciate you reading this. Some day I hope to be able to pay forward all the help I have received.

More detail (updating my original campaign post):

In 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer (for the second time, on the other side) and follicular non-hodgkin’s lymphoma (indolent, but has no cure) in the same year, with chemo through the following year. I worked full time through tough (due to rare side effects - killed much of my bone marrow but finally, in late 2015 it seems to have more or less recovered) chemotherapy treatments, however my employer (via a HIPPA violation) learned I was driving up healthcare costs and opted not to renew my contract. 

Subsequently, I have had held a variety of temporary, generally part-time, jobs (the one where I currently earn most of my income just notified me that it will end Aug. 30th, 2016 although I do have a second part-time, lower paying, fewer hours one that started mid-June). It has been nearly impossible to provide myself with a stable home and a steady income since receiving my diagnosis. Our country simply does not provide a strong safety net, and unfortunately I know that my story, and the financial toxicity of having cancer, is not unique. Worse than struggling to cover medical costs for my cancer and even for routine care like dental cleanings, worse than struggling to put food on my own table and a keeping roof over my head, is not being able to help my daughter (on the left in the photo; she was adopted as a grade schooler and has significant special needs) and her three small children. Sometimes, the only way I can help her is by giving her some of my food stamps. We are truly trapped in a cycle of poverty that all began when my self-insured employer discovered just how much I was costing them due to my cancer diagnosis.

Early in 2014 a friend convinced me to start this gofundme to cover the cost of health insurance and medical expenses. That raised $16,855 at a critical juncture (health care was going to be cut off because I was so far behind with payments and in collection for some, and was struggling to pay health insurance premiums), although in September, 2014 I still had to choose between rent and health insurance (no Medicaid expansion in this state, I do not make enough for a subsidy, currently health insurance costs me $957/mo., and my medical bills are rising faster than I can pay them down). Due to cancer I chose health insurance. March 2016 I reached the top of the waiting list for HUD (subsidized) housing, although with my impending part-time job loss I don't see a way to keep this small 2 room apartment and still pay my medical bills/insurance (which still has to be my priority). Last month I came back from a cancer check up (an out of town NCI designated cancer center, none in this state) and there are some medical tests I still need to have done because the issues that started March 2014 have not gone away. 

Through help from my friends and strangers, and a willingness to work any type of job, I've managed to stay afloat - but only barely. Patient Privacy Rights has kindly offered to help get the word out about my gofundme. I was an invited speaker at their Health Privacy Summit June, 2016, on patient health care data privacy. A video of the session I was a part of can be found here:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws37HrkCs7w&list=PLc0rN7-AwWVa5Iayk12qF__Ev9EO1cBoT&index=15

Their website is  https://patientprivacyrights.org

My situation is also documented (under an alias to protect my privacy) in Deanna Fei's award winning book (Girl in Glass: How My "Distressed Baby" Defied the Odds, Shamed a CEO, and Taught Me the Essence of Love, Heartbreak, and Miracles), that talks about her family's very unfortunate experience with corporate cost cutting due to the health expenses that her  family incurred with their very premature daughter (she is also a speaker on the video linked above).

Because I am actively searching for regular full time employment, I have shortened my last name to keep this gofundme (and that I have an incurable cancer) campaign out of a google search on my name. Patient Privacy Rights has only listed me by my first name and last name initial for the same reason.

Feel free to contact me via the email link on this site if you have other questions.

We may not know each other, or ever meet, but your contribution may mean the difference between having health insurance, continued cancer care, being there for my daughter or living to see my young grandchildren grow up. Thank you for your kindness.
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MDA Anderson Cancer Center and I have been going back and forth about $4203.82 of charges that they refuse to roll in to my existing payment plan because I can't afford what the new the payments would be. They have sent some of it to collection (today I managed to get it temporarily pulled back). I was told that I need to pay the $4200 in full by the end of December or they are cutting off care. Considering I may have relapsed (B symptoms again but nodes aren't quite large enough to "call" so we are debating what to do - one of the incurable non-hodgkin's lymphomas) this is a problem. If anyone wants to pay something on my bill to MDA directly contact me and I will send you the address and my account number.

Insurance is going up from $957/mo to in Jan 2017 $1119.18/mo. (deductible and out of pocket going up to $6000). Several months ago I got laid off (due to dropping enrollment) from the job I had had for 18 mo, but fortunately had just gotten another part time one just prior to that happening (that pays much less though) and so I thought I was going to be just barely OK. Now that isn't the case (until I can find more work). Medicaid was not expanded in this state and I don't make enough for a subsidy, I still qualify for food stamps and I am finally living in a 2 room apt. in public housing so rent is less than it otherwise would be.

Thank you for reading this update. Any help is appreciated and/or spreading my gofundme to others that might be able to help me.
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Moving tomorrow (Oct 1). Everything is going into storage. Thanks to people who donated this month I can afford to keep my stuff for a while. I don't have a permanent place to stay. I will be house sitting for someone who has a farm and a number of animals. After that I sure hope there is a spot in low income housing (I am on the waiting list). Otherwise there is a campground north of town that has a monthly rate that is about the cost of low income housing. Did not get the job that would have started the end of the month where I had a phone interview. Have many, many applications out.
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The generous people who have allowed me to live in their basement are moving half way across the country at the end of the month. I am struggling to find a place to live that I can afford since health insurance and my medical payment plan takes all of what I earn (no medicaid expansion in this state). I have been on the wait lists for subsidized housing for over a year and am no where near the top of those lists yet.

Again, thank you all for your support in the past. It has helped me keep my head above water. I don't know what I would have done without everyone's help.
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Thank you all for your help over time. Hopefully this financial train wreck will end soon, I can dig out and then start to pay it forward.
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Read a Previous Update
Pia Chien
43 months ago

How do I contact you privately about your quilts? Please respond to piachien@gmail.com. Thanks.

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Pia Chien
55 months ago

Praying for you, your family, and all your needs. Your battle is a tough one. Good for you that you keep on swinging! Please do continue to let us know how you are from time to time. May God bless with his peace.

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SJ Bate
56 months ago

wishing you the best.

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Anna Matthiesen
56 months ago

God bless!

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$17,685 of $34,800 goal

Raised by 307 people in 56 months
Created March 1, 2014
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Pia Chien
43 months ago

How do I contact you privately about your quilts? Please respond to piachien@gmail.com. Thanks.

+ Read More
Pia Chien
55 months ago

Praying for you, your family, and all your needs. Your battle is a tough one. Good for you that you keep on swinging! Please do continue to let us know how you are from time to time. May God bless with his peace.

+ Read More
SJ Bate
56 months ago

wishing you the best.

+ Read More
Anna Matthiesen
56 months ago

God bless!

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