$1,000 Hospital Care Grant helps family pay unexpected bills
As a secretary for a bustling school in Charles County, MD, Crystal Briscoe-Hall – a member of AFSCME Local 2981 (Council 67) – is used to dealing with the red tape of paperwork, but she was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to tap into assistance from her Union Plus benefits. In just a matter of weeks, she received a check for $1,000 to help her deal with family medical expenses.
“The Union Plus grant was a huge help to me and I hope other union members learn how Union Plus can help them too,” says Briscoe-Hall.
The Briscoe-Hall family, of Lusby, MD, has enjoyed the low cost, convenience and benefits of the Union Plus Life Insurance Program since 2007. Briscoe-Hall, a 10-year AFSCME member, was pleased to learn that having the union life insurance made her eligible for additional benefits, including a $1,000 Hospital Care Grant.
Even with union-negotiated health insurance, sky-high hospital bills often take a toll on working families’ household budgets. But union members who have an Union Plus Credit Card, Mortgage or Insurance policy can apply for $1,000 grants to help pay medical bills.
Fortunately, Briscoe-Hall became aware of the grant at the right time. While her husband was recovering from an illness that required hospitalization, their mounting medical bills were causing a strain on their budget.
“I was familiar with Union Plus discounts, but I didn’t know about the grants to help with hospital bills until recently,” says Briscoe-Hall. “I’m glad I read about the grants online. The application was easy and the grant was a huge help in dealing with the hospital expenses related to my husband’s sickness. The out-of-pocket costs can really be both astronomical and overwhelming.”
Eager to share valuable information to her fellow union members, Briscoe-Hall has made a point of spreading the word about Union Plus programs, including the grants. “Our union does so much for us. If we have an issue or a problem, our union rep always backs us up. Our union fights for us every day so I do what I can to let fellow union members know about these helpful programs,” says Briscoe-Hall.
To apply for a grant, a union member must have had an Union Plus Credit Card, Mortgage, or Insurance Policy for one year and face out-of-pocket hospital expenses (after insurance) that are at least 10 percent of household income for the hospitalization of the member, spouse, or dependent within the last 12 months.
$3 Million in Assistance to Union Families
Layoff, disability and education grants are available to Union Plus program participants. In addition to the grants, Union Plus offers a variety of other health-related programs, including:
- Medical Bill Negotiating Service - Free assistance to union members and union retirees who seek help in lowering medical expenses and setting up payment plans. Experienced negotiators work directly with physicians, hospitals and other medical providers to lower the amount of medical debt owed by union members.
- Health Savings Programs - Discount programs to help union families save money on prescriptions, vision, dental, physician and hospital costs. Though not an insurance program, the health savings are designed to help union households cope with the rising cost of health services.
- Health Club Discounts - Union families can enjoy significant savings when joining Curves, Gold Gyms, Sport and Health, Bally’s and other national health clubs.