Confidence to challenge the system

Junko M., New York, NY

Posted September, 17 2011 by arianne

Junko M

Junko is a single mom from Japan with an eight-year-old daughter.  In early 2011, Junko’s daughter got very sick.  Even though she had no health insurance, Junko did not want to risk her daughter’s health.  She ended up taking her to the hospital.

Shortly afterwards, Junko was sent a bill for almost $700.  While this was more than she could afford,  she knew that the hospital had a financial assistance program.  But, even after several tries, she was unable to get any information from the hospital on how to apply.

Frustrated, Junko sought help from a local Community Health Advocates agency called Make the Road New York, where she met Becca Telzak.

Becca found out that the phone number for financial assistance that was listed on Junko’s bill was incorrect.  With some effort, she was able to locate the correct person.  Then another barrier popped up: the hospital said that Junko needed to provide a social security card or U.S. passport, and copies of bank statements, mortgage payments, and utility bills.

Becca knew that these requests were not allowed under the financial assistance law.  After pursuing the case, she was able to get the hospital to change its policy and accept Junko’s application.  In doing so, Junko’s bill was reduced down to only $25. Becca also found that Junko’s daughter was eligible for coverage under Child Health Plus and helped to enroll her in the program.

Junko no longer has to worry about what to do the next time her daughter gets sick.  She now has peace of mind knowing that her daughter has health insurance.

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