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Making Ends Meet - Some Americans Dealing With Unexpected Medical Debt

Posted at 7:24 AM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 07:24:49-04

LANSING, Mich. — Across the country people tested for COVID-19, suddenly ending up with bills, bills the U.S. Government promised Americans they wouldn’t get.

Chris Conte takes a closer look at why some insurance companies aren’t doing what’s right.

Long before an epidemic swept across the globe, Anna Davis Abel was already spending her days trying not to get sick. She is 25 years old and has been living with a chronic illness for most of her life.

The way everyone feels right now is the way it always feels to live with a chronic illness.

It was early March after returning home from a trip when Anna started feeling sick.

Even after taking a terrifying trip to the doctor Anna was told there were no tests in the state of West Virginia where she lives and the symptoms only got worse.

I was going from being super sw001834 i think it shows at the end of the day it’s a healthcare industry that is not first about health //**

initially she was diagnosed with the flu. When that didn’t get better Anna was given a COVID-19 test, a test that under federal guidelines was supposed to be covered by her insurance company.

Imagine her surprise when a bill for $536.46 showed up a few weeks ago.

I think it shows at the end of the day it’s a healthcare industry that is not first about health.

So what’s happening here? The CARES act mandates COVID-19 tests be covered by insurance companies. But as Americans are finding out, there are loopholes. Many times the tests aren’t billed correctly, or in Anna’s case, she was tested before the law went into effect.

Most people when they get a medical bill, they’re frustrated, they’re angry and don’t know what to do anything about it, and that’s what insurance companies are relying on

COVID 19 billing and medical debt is going to be a nightmare.

Craig Antico is the co-founder of rip medical debt. His concern is that many of us will just assume COVID-19 tests were covered, and then months later end up with a bill. People aren’t going to feel the pressure of paying these bills until almost a year from now
As for Anna, her insurance company eventually admitted a billing error and reversed the charge.

Also as s the discourse moves past the fears we had, they’ll be less pressure for the insurance companies to be held accountable. Accountability, so that patients aren’t suffering more than they already are.

Here's what you should do if you think you've been charged incorrectly. Don't ignore or let yourself forget about the charge. Ask for an itemized copy of your bill so you can see and evaluate each charge individually. You might spot more errors. Then you can gtry to get someone from your insurance company on the phone to resolve the problem.

As a last resort consider filing a complaint with the state insurance commission.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help businesses and restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

Also, get information about Rebound Mid Michigan, with stories, information and more about coming back from COVID-19

Join the Rebound Mid Michigan Facebook Group.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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