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Union Plus grant helps union member deal with hospital bills

Posted on July 19, 2013
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After spending more than a month in the hospital battling for his life, Robert Jazinski was happy to return to his home in Glendale, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee. The daily delivery of mail brought not only good wishes from family and friends, but also a steady and mounting pile of bills related to his hospital stay.

Jazinski, a 10-year member of Laborers (LIUNA) Local 113, was fortunate to have health insurance, but his lengthy stay in the hospital resulted in out-of-pocket expenses exceeding more than $8,000. Jazinski’s story is a common one. In fact, according to Families USA, more than three out of five adults who report having trouble paying off medical bills have insurance.

Union Plus provides $1,200 Hospital Care Grants to help union families with a Union Plus Credit Card who face steep out-of-pocket expenses. The grant money, which never needs to be repaid, is part of a $3 million safety net initiative by Union Plus to assist union members facing financial hardship. Union Plus Assistance's wide array of benefits includes financial counseling, job loss grants, disability assistance, and help to avoid home foreclosure.

As a Union Plus Credit Card cardholder who couldn’t find work for more than 90 days, Jazinski also qualified for a Job Loss Grant. “The grants really helped us out a lot, especially with household bills and credit cards,” says Jazinski. “The grants make a big difference and take very little time and effort. I hope other union members learn about the help that is available to them.”

Jazinski had never heard of the Union Plus grants and did not realize the financial assistance that was available to union members. Fortunately, his girlfriend, Chris Wolski, noticed information about the grants and decided to see if Jazinski qualified. To qualify for a Hospital Grant, a union member must have had a Union Plus Credit Card for 3 months, or Union Plus Mortgage or Insurance policy for one year and face out-of-pocket hospital expenses (after insurance) that are at least 10% of household income for a hospitalization of the member, spouse, or dependent within the last 12 months.

“In a matter of three or four weeks, the checks from Union Plus were in the mail,” says Wolski. “The bills related to the hospital stay continue to come in, but we’re in a much better position to handle the costs.”
 
Just as the grants from Union Plus helped bridge the high costs of health care, Jazinski is busy with some bridge building of his own. The Wisconsin native recently returned to his job, where he is currently working on building bridges in the Milwaukee area.

Visit UnionPlus.org/Assistance for more information on layoff, disability, and hospital care grants available to Union Plus program participants. If you’re worried you might lose your home, regardless of whether you are in a Union Plus program, call the Union Plus Save My Home Hotline at 1-866-490-5361, anytime day or night.
 

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