$1,000 grant helps retired BCTGM member pay big medical bills
Nobody has ever had to sell George Campbell on the benefits of being a union member. The former maintenance mechanic is quick to credit his union –BCTGM– for allowing him to cover expensive orthodontic treatment for his children, pay for scores of medical bills over the years, and count on a steady paycheck throughout his working life. But more than 20 years after joining his union, Campbell discovered a new reason why it pays to be part of the labor movement, Union Plus Hospital Care Grants.
Hospital Care Grants, offered through Union Plus, are among the latest benefits introduced to help union members cope with financial difficulties related to health care, education, and disability/job loss. The Hospital Care Grants, which never need to be repaid, provide $1,000 to help union members deal with high out-of-pocket medical bills and reduce the stress that accompanies health care debt.
“I am very grateful for the Union Plus grant. It helped me pay off some doctor and hospital bills, which, of course, relieved a lot of anxiety,” says Campbell. Grants are available to union members with a Union Plus Credit Card, Union Plus Insurance policy or a Union Plus Mortgage.
Hospitalization impacts more than just the individual patient. The financial and emotional support of friends and family is critical, but it is often not enough. Campbell’s daughter Sandy Conley says, “It is comforting to know the union is still trying to look out for my father as a union member. I appreciate the Union Plus staff for the help and the prompt delivery of this grant to my father.”
The $1,000 Union Plus Hospital Care Grants are part of a safety net initiative by Union Plus to assist union members cope with a lagging U.S. economy. Since Union SAFE began, over $5 million has been distributed to union members facing financial hardship due to job loss, layoff, disability, large hospital bills and mortgage payment problems.
Millions of other Americans know first-hand how easy it is for out-of-pocket costs to soar. In determining eligibility for a Union Plus Hospital Care Grant, out-of-pocket hospital expenses include insurance deductibles, hospital charges, physician charges, medications, and other medical expenses included during the hospital stay.
“I certainly appreciate the staff of Union Plus being so helpful to me and getting the grant to me quickly. I am thankful that someone was thinking of me and trying to help me,” says Campbell, who worked for 22 ½ years at the Rainbo Bakery processing plant in his hometown of Johnson City, TN.
Union members interested in applying for a Hospital Care Grant must be a Union Plus Credit Card holder, have a Union Plus Insurance policy or carry a Union Plus Mortgage. Union members must also have out-of-pocket hospital expenses (after insurance) that are at least 10 percent of the family’s household income, and the union member, spouse, or dependent must have been hospitalized within the last 12 months.
Union members may visit UnionPlus.org/UnionSAFE for more information on layoff, disability and education grants available to Union Plus program participants.