Americans can get a coronavirus test for free, but if they wind up in the hospital for treatment of COVID-19, they could face tens of thousands of dollars in bills – even if they have insurance.
For the uninsured, they can expect to pay anywhere from $42,486 to $74,310 for coronavirus care, according to a recent analysis by independent nonprofit FAIR Health. And for those with insurance, out-of-pocket costs could be a portion of $21,936 to $38,755. That isn’t what they’ll pay, but many have deductibles that range from $5,000 to $15,000 for long-term care like hospitalizations.
“To determine the estimates, FAIR Health drew on its database of over 30 billion private health-care claim records, and on estimates of Medicare and Medicaid costs, to project U.S. costs for COVID-19 patients requiring inpatient stays using diagnosis-related groups associated with pneumonia,” CNBC reported.
“FAIR also ran a slightly different cost analysis of COVID-19 medical care using procedure codes associated with influenza and pneumonia,” continues CNBC. “Using those metrics, FAIR found uninsured Americans with COVID-19 could pay an estimated average of $73,300 for a 6-day hospital stay, while insured patients could expect to pay a portion of the $38,221 average cost billed to insurers.”
COVID-19 is the disease people get from SARS-CoV-2 (SARS stands for “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome”). To determine the cost, Fair Health tallied the cost for the most often used treatments and services for patients suffering from influenza and pneumonia. Fair Health noted that some people would not require all the same services and treatments.
Americans could face huge bills even if they’re not hospitalized for COVID-19.
“Danny Askinsi, based in the Boston area, told Time magazine that she tested positive for COVID-19 and is uninsured. Her testing and treatment involved three trips to the ER before she was tested, resulting in a nearly $40,000 medical bill,” Business Insider reported.
“And two people who didn’t test positive, but received other related treatment and testing, received bills for over $3,000. Add up all these high medical costs for matters of life and death during a pandemic and you see a broken healthcare system at a time when Americans literally can worst afford it,” according to Business Insider.
Numerous health insurance companies, including massive ones like Anthem, are now passing portions of the cost on to consumers in the form of deductibles – and Anthem can decide after a subscriber’s trip to the emergency room that the trip wasn’t an emergency after all.
“Anthem has introduced a restriction on emergency care coverage, effectively denying most if not all coverage if they decide after your ED visit that you didn’t have an emergency condition. Say you went to an emergency department for severe abdominal pain and nausea that sounded like your cousin’s appendicitis, only to find out the cause was a nasty stomach virus,” StatNews reported in 2018.
“After the dust has settled, Anthem reviews the bill and decides that your visit was inappropriate and could have been treated in your doctor’s office or at an urgent care center,” StatNews writes. “The company then covers only a fraction of the cost, if any, and you are responsible for most of the bill. What’s more, this expenditure would not count towards your deductible or out-of-pocket limit.”