Robert called ELAP needing help dealing with a bill that had gone to collections. He had an operation on his shoulder in March 2016 and thought he was covered under ACA but when he received a bill from the hospital for $35,000 he was confused. The hospital told him that they expected him to pay in full immediately. Robert and his wife are humble people who are low income and do not speak English. They did not have the resources to pay this bill and did not know what to do when the hospital sent the bill to collections. Robert applied for ACA, and although he was approved, it would not cover a bill that was incurred prior to getting on ACA. Needless to say, Robert and his wife Josephine were worried and stressed, not knowing what to do.
A friend suggested they contact ELAP to learn if an attorney could help. They were scheduled in our General Law Clinic and the pro bono attorney called a representative at the collection agency right there at their appointment. The attorney informed the collection agency that the hospital failed to tell Robert that he qualified for Charity Care and he should never have been billed, which resulted in his account going to collection. The representative was willing to work with Robert and the attorney to resolve this issue over the following weeks. The volunteer attorney even drafted a letter on his letterhead that helped Robert resolve this issue satisfactorily.
Robert and Josephine were very grateful and surprised because they thought it was going to be a short 30-minute consultation and instead the attorney went above and beyond their expectations. Our volunteer clinic attorneys don’t usually take on a client outside the clinic, but what is typical is the caring, professional characteristics that exemplify the kinds of attorneys who volunteer with ELAP. Like Robert and Josephine, we are grateful for the excellent service our pro bono attorneys provide to our clients.