When a family learns that their child has a congenital heart defect, the financial aspect of that serious diagnosis is often the last thing on their minds. However, along with providing world-class pediatric cardiac care and treatment, Sibley Heart Center Cardiology walks with families every step of the way, including helping them to prepare financially.
“The first thing they should know is similar to any time their child gets sick,” said Teresa Traugott, Senior Business Office Manager at Sibley Heart Center Cardiology. “Ask yourself, ‘What insurance do I have, what is my deductible, what will I owe and what are my options?’”
Some families have Medicaid, and some have excellent insurance, but few will leave the hospital with a zero balance. Some families have low-cost health insurance plans with deductibles as high as $10,000, which can be a heavy burden after a heart surgery and stay in the hospital.
Ask questions up front if you can,” Traugott said. “Sometimes a parent gives birth to a child with health problems, and they don’t know what to ask or expect. But on return procedures and office visits, you can ask, ‘What am I going to owe?’”
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Sibley Heart Center Cardiology both offer generous financial assistance, based on family size and percentage of the federal poverty level. Traugott said she encourages people with a large bill to proactively seek financial assistance. She also recommends getting in touch with the cardiology social worker, who can identify resources to help.
“The social worker can stretch your resources well beyond the bill itself,” Traugott said. “If we know what your situation is and what your worries are, we can best address them to make life a little easier for families. There is an awful lot of help out there, and people just don’t know it. Don’t be afraid to ask.”
Some helpful online resources include:
- Social Security Explanation
- SSA CHD Medical Qualifying Information
- Social Security Income Limits
- Georgia Social Security Office