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Tens of thousands of dollars: how much will COVID-19 treatment cost Americans

When at the end of February Danny Aschini began to feel chest pain, shortness of breath and migraine at the same time, she called the oncologist who was treating her lymphoma. She was sent to the emergency room in Boston (Massachusetts), considering these symptoms a reaction to a new medicine. There the doctors said that it was most likely pneumonia, and sent her home. Writes about it T.

Photo: Shutterstock

Over the next few days, Askini’s temperature rose sharply and decreased, and she began to cough. On the seventh day of illness, after two visits to the emergency room, doctors helped her cope with the symptoms of flu and pneumonia and sent her home. Three more days passed, and only then was the diagnosis made: COVID-19.

A few days later, Askini received bills for testing and treatment: $ 34.

“I was very shocked,” she says. “Personally, I don’t know anyone who has that kind of money.”

Like 27 million other Americans, Askini was not safe when she first went to the hospital. She and her husband planned to move to Washington, DC, so that she could get a new job. Askini has applied for Medicaid and hopes the program will cover her bills. If not, she will be hooked.

Public health experts predict that in the foreseeable future, tens of thousands and possibly millions of people in the United States are likely to be hospitalized for treatment with COVID-19. And Congress has yet to solve the problem. On March 18, he passed the Coronavirus Infections Response Act, which provides for further testing costs, but does nothing to cover the cost of treatment.

While most people infected with COVID-19 do not need hospitalization and can recover at home, according to the World Health Organization, those who really need to go to the intensive care unit may have to expect big bills, regardless of insurance coverage.

How much does hospitalization cost due to COVID-19?

Because of the fragmented healthcare system, it all depends on what type of insurance you have, what are the benefits of your plan, and how much has already been paid.

On the subject: Coronavirus and psychosomatics: why stress and panic make us vulnerable to infections

According to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average cost of COVID-19 treatment for a person with employer insurance - and without complications - will be about $ 9. To treat a disease with complications will need to pay twice as much - $ 763. Researchers found these amounts by studying the average cost of hospitalization for people with pneumonia.

How much of this should you pay?

Many private health insurance plans cover most of the services needed to treat complications.

Kaiser researchers found that the cost of treating any severity of the disease in patients insured by the employer will be about $ 1.

Many health insurance plans also require co-payments. These costs often amount to 15-20% to pay for the services of a network doctor, and much more if they are not covered by insurance.

Medicare and Medicaid are likely to cover the services needed to treat a coronavirus, but the details and potential co-payments will depend on your plan and what state you live in.

What to do if there is no insurance?

Some hospitals offer charity programs, and some states are taking steps to help residents pay COVID-19 treatment costs. Several states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island and Washington, have created “special registration periods” to allow more people to get insurance in the middle of the year.

The Commonwealth Fund, a health think tank, has coronavirus tracker, which stores a list of steps that each state has already taken.

What can you do if you cannot afford to pay for treatment?

For the US healthcare system, this is a problem. But there are a few things to keep in mind that can help minimize costs.

If you think you might have a virus, first call your doctor or emergency department. This will give you the appropriate instructions and prepare the room, as well as help you save your money.

Another charge is related to the “service charge” that many hospitals charge each time a patient goes to a medical facility. For example, for Danny Aschini’s first visit to a hospital in Boston on February 29, she was presented with a bill of $ 1; for visiting the emergency department another $ 804 for “hospital services”.

On the subject: 'Contagion': how a 2011 film predicted the coronavirus epidemic

Other expenses that you should pay attention to include laboratory tests, which may be “out of coverage,” even if your doctor is on your insurance network. It is always best to request information in writing so that you can appeal the bills if necessary. Often, providers and insurers cancel or reduce bills when patients publicize their stories and fabulous amounts for treatment.

These problems do not appear suddenly. Even when we are not experiencing a global pandemic, Americans face uniquely high healthcare costs compared to the rest of the world, and millions are already putting off medical care because of concerns about how much it will cost. But with the advent of COVID-19 across the country, the old problem is becoming increasingly urgent: many Americans may still face large treatment bills or try to prevent them by avoiding testing and treatment, which will further exacerbate the outbreak.

“If someone is sick, they must face barriers to treatment,” says Caitlin Donovan of the National Endowment for Patient Advocacy. "This policy forces people not to see a doctor, go to work and infect even more people."

As reported by ForumDaily:

  • A new virus was discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. In 2020, it covered all continents except Antarctica. On March 11, US President Donald Trump imposed a ban on entry from the EU. The ban came into force on Friday, March 13, and will last at least 30 days. In particular, it will concern people who have visited the Schengen area over the past 14 days.
  • March 13, Trump introduced a nationwide emergency regime in the US due to coronavirus.
  • On March 11, WHO recognized the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, which covered more than 110 countries. Symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19 Disease Available here.
  • Virologist's tips on how to protect yourself from infection - link.
  • Taking advantage of the panic in the society because of the epidemic, fraudsters came up with several schemes to deceive victims of personal data and money. The most common ones can be found here.
  • Having succumbed to panic due to a state of emergency, Americans are massively buying toilet paperbut they cannot explain why they need it during the epidemic.
  • Read all news about coronavirus in our special project.
Miscellaneous In the U.S. treatment coronavirus Special Projects

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Coronavirus and psychosomatics: why stress and panic make us vulnerable to infections

'Contagion': how a 2011 film predicted the coronavirus epidemic

My home is my fortress: how to properly disinfect your home during the coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus and work: what a boss can and cannot make you do

Why coronavirus doesn't start an apocalypse: calming statistics

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