Thousands of people, if not millions, experts predict, will be admitted to hospitals during the pandemic. They'll not only be facing a disease, COVID-19, but a bill—in one Massachusetts woman's case, $34,927.43—that they might not be able to pay. "I was pretty sticker-shocked," Danni Askini said. "I personally don't know anybody who has that kind of money." It took several trips to the ER before she was given a test that confirmed that she had the disease. Askini was about to start a new job and didn't have insurance. Now that she won't be able to start the job yet, Askini has applied for Medicaid, hoping the bill will be covered retroactively. Otherwise, she said in a tweet, "I will never be able to pay" the $35,000.
Even a COVID-19 patient with employer insurance can expect a bill of just under $10,000, assuming there are no complications, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates. Complications would double that, per Time. And there are 27 million Americans without health insurance. It's a larger story than her experience, Askini said, adding that she doesn't want to be anyone's "sympathy porn"; it's about a broken system. The test alone cost her $900. The total bill, Askini tweeted, was more than her bachelor's and master's degrees cost combined. She's asked her congressional representatives on Twitter for help. (Read more coronavirus stories.)