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Washington Man's COVID Bill Was Seven Figures

Though he says he only had to pay about $3K of that
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2020 1:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of the first COVID-19 patients in the US, Michael Flor of Seattle spent 62 days in the hospital and two weeks in a rehab facility—then returned home to a $1.1 million medical bill. There were thousands of charges on the 181-page bill, he tells KOMO News. An earlier story from ABC 13 explains that he was charged $9,700 for each day in the ICU and $80,000 for 29 days on a ventilator, for instance. Fortunately, Medicare, supplemental insurance, and Congressional funding to help hospitals with coronavirus costs kicked in, and he only had to pay about $3,000. Even so, Flor's story highlights the shell shock that could come for many coronavirus patients.

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The news station says one national survey of healthcare claims found the average charge of a COVID hospitalization for someone without insurance is around $73,000; with insurance, it's around $38,000. The full cost of COVID hospitalizations for this year in the US is expected to be $17 billion, and one actuary studying that cost and its consequences says it will end up increasing taxes and insurance premiums: "What happens with the entire system is that COVID-19 is going to be expensive." But, she notes, the true cost may not be known for quite some time, as the long-term effects of the disease are still being uncovered. As for Flor, the Seattle Times highlights his full story here. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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