Families Coping: Healthcare and the unemployed

By Lauren Lowrey - bio | email 

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

(WTOL) - Medical emergencies can be tough to pay for, especially without health insurance. Add to that a loss of income, and getting better is near impossible.

That's the situation Mary Ames is in. She's a single woman who we've been profiling in our "families coping" series. We have an update now as she struggles to pay for medication to treat her recent bout with pneumonia.

It takes money to buy meds, and Mary Ames doesn't have it. She's been unemployed for nearly two months and has no income and no insurance. Prescriptions for a recent bout with pneumonia will cost $300. So, for now, getting well isn't an option. "Are they supposed to fall from heaven?" she told us, "If I can't get any help, if I can't get any medical coverage from the state or through the county, where is this supposed to come from?"

Help from United Way

Help, in Mary's case, comes in the form of United Way's 211 hotline. It's an information and referral hotline you can call to find out if you qualify for any financial help. By looking at your situation, United Way workers filter through over 600 programs and organizations in northwest Ohio who are ready to help in your time of need.

Jane Moore with United Way tells us, "Every family's situation is different -- what they bring to the table. That's why that initial call can help to hone down some things that maybe you're eligible for, but maybe your neighbor isn't."

In Mary's case, the fact that she takes 11 maintenance medications could help her find assistance. "High cholesterol, high blood pressure, thyroid, acid reflux," she says.

"There are services available, and people don't realize it. If you haven't been in that situation before, you wouldn't know something was available," said Melissa Alvarado with United Way.