People Getting Tested For The Coronavirus Are Being Overcharged

People Getting Tested For The Coronavirus Are Being Outrageously Charged; “My Question Is Why Are We Being Charged For The Stays, If They Were Mandatory”

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation, more people are going to the hospital to get tested for symptoms they think are identical to the coronavirus.

Others are being quarantined as a requirement by the government in order to make sure the virus doesn’t continue to spread.

However, as people are released from the hospital, they return home to overpriced bills that they feel the government should be paying for.

This worries public health experts as they fear people will stop getting tested, which could turn out bad.

Sarah Kliff of The New York Times revealed that Pennsylvania resident Frank Wucinski returned home to almost $4,000 in bills.

“My question is, why are we being charged for these stays, if they were mandatory and we had no choice in the matter,” Wucinski asked.

Last month, Wucinski and his three-year-old daughter were mandated to quarantine by the U.S. government when they returned from Wuhan, China, after possible exposure to the virus.

According to Kliff, Wucinski was charged $2,598 for the ambulance ride to the hospital alone, and an additional $90 for x-ray scans to be read by individuals that weren’t official employees at the hospital. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

“I assumed it was all being paid for,” Wucinski explained to the Times. “We didn’t have a choice. When the bills showed up, it was just a pit in my stomach, like, ‘How do I pay for this?’”

When Wucinski asked the CDC if the government would be covering his and his daughter’s medical expenses, the center failed to respond.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they aren’t charging patients for testing.⠀⠀⠀

“But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof,” the Business Insider reports. “A hospital stay in itself could be costly, and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions.”

“The most important rule of public health is to gain the cooperation of the population,” Georgetown University global health law professor Lawrence Gostin added. “There are legal, moral, and public health reasons not to charge the patients.”

Another case ended with Osmel Martinez Azcue being charged $3,270 in medical expenses after a work trip to China, when he only had the flu, according to the Miami Herald.

“He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room,” according to Herald. “Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he’d need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first.”

After testing positive for the flu, Azcue was discharged.

“Azcue’s experience shows the potential cost of testing for a disease that epidemiologists fear may develop into a public health crisis in the U.S.,” the news outlet added.⠀

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke out on Azcue’s case on twitter, stating, “The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together. We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor’s visits over outrageous bills. Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet—as a matter of justice and public health.”

According to commondreams.org, so far, there have been a total of 89 coronavirus cases in the United States. As of this afternoon, six people have died from the illness in the states.

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