The CCU team informed us that he would be under their care for about 3 or 4 days and would then move to the recovery unit for another 2 or 3 days before discharging home. Once home he would be put into cardiac rehabilitation 3x week and also follow up with a cardiologist routinely. And of course he would be required to take a slew of new medications for the unforeseen future.
In the hours that followed his surgery his heart was not responding to the treatments as anticipated and his blood pressure continued to drop to dangerous levels. The CCU team was prepared to take Brian back to surgery as it was suspected that he may have further damage. Fortunately, about 8 hours after the initial surgery, his heart went back into sinus rhythm and his blood pressure rose to more stable levels. Even though the damage was more then first thought, a second surgery was not warranted.
24 hours after undergoing surgery and being admitted to the hospital a financial adviser came to his room to let him know that his insurance showed as inactive and that he was being converted to self pay. My immediate response was not to be too worried as I assumed there was just a glitch or a simple misunderstanding. After several phone calls I learned that his employer terminated his benefits when he went on a leave of absence.
Here's a little back story - 3 weeks prior to him having a heart attack he had not been feeling well. Under the care of his primary care physician he took a leave of absence from work. At the time of his leave he did not qualify for FMLA as he had not been with his employer for a full 12 months. However, his employer did approve a temporary leave of absence for up to 30 days. He returned to work after being out for 16 days. On his 3rd day back to work he suffered a heart attack.
Flash forward to the present - Unbeknownst to us, his employer terminated his insurance benefits when he went on leave. We were never notified of this until it was brought to our attention from the medical providers. His employer stated that because he had a reduction in hours he was no longer eligible for benefits. Our argument was that he did not quit his position nor was he terminated from his position, he was on an APPROVED LEAVE OF ABSENCE and it would seem as though his benefits would remain in affect. So even though he returned to work within 16 days of his initial leave and had received 3 paychecks within that same month, which had his insurance premiums withheld, the day he had his heart attack he had no insurance coverage.
Later this same day (still within 24 hours of hospital admission) the Physician assistant stated that Brian's heart did in fact suffer more damage then originally thought. They would be running more tests and that we should expect for him to be in CCU a day or 2 longer then first anticipated, before transferring to recovery.
The very next morning at 9am, less than 24 hours from the conversation with the physician assistant and less then 48 hours from the onset of his heart attack, surgery and hospital admission I got a phone call that he was being discharged home, directly from CCU, and that I needed to come pick him up. It goes without saying that I was extremely upset and overly confused by this sudden change in direction.
I confronted the hospital staff about his sudden discharge directly from CCU, as he hadn't even gone through recovery yet. I knew in my heart they were discharging him due to his funding status being listed as self pay. While the staff fumbled in their responses to me they ultimately said that there were no available beds in the recovery unit and that he was in stable enough condition to go home. I was scared out of my mind and extremely angry because I felt that his care was being compromised - all because his benefits were terminated.
In less then 48 hour time frame my husband had a massive heart attack, found out he did not have active insurance and was now being discharged home "in stable condition". The emotional roller coaster we have been on is exhausting to say the least.
Obviously given his current health condition he is unable to work. While his employer has approved him for another leave of absence, according to their policy of reduction in hours, he does not qualify for their health coverage.
Brian has no income. I am exhausting all resources trying to get him approved for short term disability. Even if it only pays up to 50% of his income, anything would be beneficial at this point. We are still waiting on the status of this short term coverage. On top of that he has no insurance coverage. Just this week we received the paperwork for Cobra coverage, due to is benefits being terminated, with a monthly obligation of $1101.65. Without his income paying for this Cobra coverage seems unattainable.
We have been surviving on my income alone. While trying my hardest to cover our normal living expenses (mortgage, car payment, utilities, food etc.) we have been paying out of pocket for his Cardiology appointments, primary care physician appointments, continued testing, continued lab work, his medications, etc. On top of this he has cardiac rehab 3x week (at $319 per visit) with an additional 6-8 weeks ahead of him, as they have yet to determine the overall permanent damage his heart has suffered.
To date we have incurred a total balance due of $79,853.37 in medical expenses related to my husbands heart condition and lack of insurance coverage. This does not include what we have been paying for out of pocket. This total is steadily climbing as he continues to receive ongoing treatment.
Asking for help does not come easy for me/us. However, as if the circumstances of his health weren't devastating enough for our family, these added unexpected challenges along the way leave us facing financial destitute.
So here we are, reaching out to anyone that will listen, hoping that we can be graced with your gratitude in helping us. There is no donation too small. If you are unable to support a monetary donation please consider at least offering us your prayers, as we need faith on our side.
Any donations received will first go to the ongoing monthly cost of the Cobra coverage so we can reinstate his benefits to ensure he gets the medical treatment he needs. This would relieve us of incurring more medical debt, would eliminate the upfront out of pocket expenses and also aid in covering his costly medications. From there, if we are fortunate enough, any additional donations will be applied to his medical bills to aid in reducing the overall balances.
To those that can find it in their heart to donate and for those of you who have rallied around us and offered your support in other ways; from bringing us food, to cutting our grass every week, to making yourself available to help get our youngest daughter to school when Brian has an early morning Doctor appointment, to checking in on us or whatever it may be - we cannot thank you all enough. We hear you, we see you and you are greatly appreciated beyond measure.
I pray that this opportunity and the selfless gratitude of so many will bless us with the ability to someday pay it forward to others in need.
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