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 How Expensive is Coronavirus Treatment in the US?

The world economy has suffered at the hands of coronavirus outbreak as the businesses were shut down for almost a couple of months and people struggled financially. In the meantime, the US government took measures to save coronavirus patients from financial stress by making coronavirus treatment in the US free of cost.

Despite these efforts, people are still getting huge bills from the hospitals due to various loopholes that were reported in the laws to protect the people who need coronavirus treatment or those who want to get tested for COVID-19.

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The USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy fellow, Christen Linke Young said that healthcare professionals are looking at some new options to get payments due to which people are getting huge bills of their medical expenses. She also said that the laws passed have various loopholes in them.

She said that the large bills are confusing consumers and people are fearing getting tested due to the medical bills.

Imad Khachan, aged 56 was getting coronavirus treatment in the US at a hospital in New York City in March. He was admitted to the hospital for three nights after which he paid the medical bill of $5000 at Northwell Health. He praised the facilities at the hospital and said that he was well taken care of.

After a few weeks, he received a medical bill of $47,915.20 which he was extremely shocked to receive as he was expecting to pay another $5000. Along with this huge bill, he received other small bills for ambulance service, tests, etc. The small businessman said that he is unable to pay the huge medical bill.

Later it was found that Khachan received his extravagant bill due to bad timing. The medical bill was sent to him before the Department of Health and Human Services launched its website which is a platform for the hospitals to request compensation specifically for COVID-19 patients and coronavirus treatment and care for those who are uninsured.

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The healthcare administration had announced the program to compensate the uninsured coronavirus patients on April 22 while the website did not go live until May 6. Khachan had received his medical bill before this due to which he was charged a huge amount.

The administration said that the hospitals received funds starting from May 18 by the federal government. The rules and regulations of this funding state that anyone who took advantage of healthcare facilities after Feb 4 is eligible to get the compensation. This funding is for uninsured people who got their coronavirus tests and treatment.

All the hospitals don’t need to be a part of this funding and it is not yet known how many healthcare facilities will choose to be a part of it.

Also read- Diabetes is the Biggest Risk Factor for Coronavirus Deaths, says NHS 

A spokesman for Northwell Health, Terry Lynam said that the facility had to go through an online enrollment procedure for a few days after which it was able to make requests for coronavirus patients.

The financial burden on the coronavirus patients was meant to be reduced under this law by making coronavirus treatment in the US free of cost but due to bad timings and some loopholes led to several issues in this funding program and various uninsured people received huge bills from the hospitals.

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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