And to think…I thought MY medical bills were high? Compared to this guy, I’m getting off pretty good.
After spending months hospitalized for COVID-19, Michael Flor, 70, says that he knew his stay would be a bit pricey. I mean, after all, he had spent 62 days in an intensive care unit, including weeks in an induced coma, and had come so close to death that his family had called to say goodbye. Yet, he survived all of that. He’s breathing better and his heart is beating fine, but he came home to a bill that would almost make anybody’s heart stop.
Flor said he came home, opened the mail, only to read the hospital’s bill–for a whopping $1.1 million bucks.
Nope, you didn’t read that wrong. A hospital bill for over $1 Million bucks–for only one person.
“I had to look at it a number of times…to see if I was seeing it right,” Flor, told TIME. You wouldn’t be the only one to look at that bill a few times. Hell, I would’ve made sure it was addressed to me and not someone else!
The 181-page bill included almost 3,000 itemized charges, the Seattle Times reported. His room in the intensive care unit alone had cost about $9,700 a day, Flor says.
Wait, did they say 181 pages? Whoa.
But get this: Flor says the total cost of his treatment will likely be higher, because the bill does not include multiple items, including fees for his skilled nursing facility, dialysis and the doctors who treated him.
So how did this happen?
According to the Seattle Times, Flor tested positive for the new coronavirus and was transferred to the intensive care unit at Swedish Issaquah. Within a few days his lungs deteriorated, so he was intubated and put on a ventilator, an intensive-care breathing machine.
What followed was six weeks during which doctors threw everything at him they could think of. His lungs filled with fluid, his heart weakened, his kidneys shut down. As happens to lots of COVID-19 patients, he developed blood clots. His immune system had what Lipke called an “over-exuberant inflammatory response” in fighting the virus. It crashed the rest of his body.
Flor says he may not ultimately need to pay for much of his treatment. He’s insured by Medicare and Medicare Advantage through Kaiser Permanente. The health care company has announced that it will waive most out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 patients through 2020.
The Real Costs of COVID
This whole issue brings up a good question: will insurance companies foot the bill for COVID-19 patients?
According to an April 2020 report by CNBC, the average cost to treat a hospitalized patient with coronavirus is…