Patients Continue To Be Surprised By Costs Of COVID-19 Treatment And Testing

By Consumers For Quality Care, on October 30, 2020

Patients Continue To Be Surprised By Costs Of COVID-19 Treatment And Testing

Despite legislation and assurances from elected leaders, patients continue to fall through cracks and loopholes when it comes to COVID-19, leaving some to deal with with financial burdens on top of their illness.

CBS News is out with a new report chronicling the stories of several such patients.

One woman, Melissa Szymanski, was stuck with a $3,200 after COVID-19 symptoms sent her to the hospital. Even though she wanted to get a test and her doctor recommended a chest x-ray, she could not get one because the hospital was limiting tests.

Szymanski was never diagnosed with COVID-19, so she was not afforded any of the protections provided to others who are treated for the virus.

“I was surprised that I got a bill because it just so clearly seemed to be COVID,” said Szymanski, who also shared her story with the nonprofit Patient Rights Advocate.

For Szymanski, the process of fighting back was not easy, but it eventually paid off. She says state regulators helped lower her bill, and she hopes to have the rest covered as well.

Meanwhile,Mary Lynn Fager had a very different experience after getting sick. She spent four days in the hospital on oxygen and went to several doctor appointments – yet hasn’t gotten a single bill. After losing her job in March, Fager qualified for New York’s Medicaid coverage program, which she says covered all the costs.

As always, if patients receive a large bill for COVID-19 treatment, they should ask questions before they pay. Asking the hospital for an itemized bill or contacting their insurer can sometimes reveal simple coding errors that get corrected in the patient’s favor. Many hospitals are still adjusting their coding and billing systems to COVID-19 treatment.