$3,278 ER Visit for Coughing Fits and Fever Amid Covid-19 Pandemic Highlights Failure of For-Profit System
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A $3,278 bill that Timothy Regan received after coughing fits and a low-grade fever sent him to a Denver emergency room in early April—as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the United States continued to climb—garnered national media attention Monday as an example of how much the nation’s for-profit healthcare system is costing Americans, particularly in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Regan and Kaiser Health News editor-in-chief Elisabeth Rosenthal appeared on “CBS This Morning” to discuss the four-figure bill from Denver Health and the fact that his insurance provider, UnitedHealthcare, initially only covered $1,042, leaving Regan’s family with $2,236 to pay—even though a law passed by Congress requires insurers to fully cover Covid-19 testing and many companies, including UnitedHealthcare, are also waiving treatment costs.
As the segment and a report from KHN explained, UnitedHealthcare’s initial limited coverage resulted from how Denver Health coded Regan’s ER visit. Although Regan was presumed positive for Covid-19 by a doctor, he didn’t receive a nasal swab test for the virus; Denver Health told “CBS This Morning” that it was complying with testing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Regan didn’t qualify.
“The Regans said they initially found no satisfaction in calling the hospital or the insurer to resolve their dispute―but it was the right thing to do,” according to KHN. Ultimately, UnitedHealthcare reviewed the claims at the request of KHN and concluded that Regan’s ER trip should have been coded as related to Covid-19 and covered in full, so “all cost share for that visit has been waived,” a spokesperson for the insurer said.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
May 26, 2020 at 4:43 PM #319224EnthusiastParticipant
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There you have it. It could not be any more clear.
I would like to remind you that U.S. health insurance companies do not contribute anything to health care. They are only a PARASITIC middle man receiving an undeserved cut of "FREE MONEY".
May 26, 2020 at 5:39 PM #319237surrealAmericanParticipant
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… does that mean that the number of cases has been severely under reported?
May 26, 2020 at 6:48 PM #319240N2DocParticipant
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And even testing is not done due to profits. I was discussing this with the husband of a pulmonary doc here in Georgia, he was saying they have all the testing kits they could possibly need, no waiting to be tested. I asked ok, how much does it cost? Answer: depends on your insurance, could be 0, could be 50, 100, 150….And of course no way of knowing beforehand what that amount might be. $50 is not a trivial amount for most people
June 1, 2020 at 4:22 AM #321360Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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I think @davidthegnome said his girlfriends (required by but not paid for by employer) test cost around$1K? (Luckily negative)
June 1, 2020 at 10:55 AM #321479David the GnomeParticipant
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One thousand. Not sure why, the billing person offered to speak to hospital admin about it because her direct supervisor said it was the correct price. Still no final word. It was an “influenza test” which I believe involves a swab. Didnt get all the details.
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