$10K ER bill raises questions about affordability of COVID-19 testing

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A Brooklyn public school teacher was charged $10,382 after she visited a local emergency department for symptoms related to the new coronavirus. While her insurance is footing most of the bill, it raises questions about how uninsured Americans will be able to afford tests and treatment if they are diagnosed with COVID-19, Business Insider reports.

Erin McCarthy went to NYU Langone Health's emergency room in Brooklyn March 2 with a fever, headaches and tightness in her chest. She had recently traveled to Italy, a region hit hard by the new coronavirus. 

Though her aim was to be tested for COVID-19, after her six-hour visit, she left without getting tested. Her physicians said she did not meet requirements for the test because she was not immuno-compromised and is not eldery.

A few days later she received the $10,382 bill in the mail.

While Ms. McCarthy will only pay $75 out of pocket, and her insurance company will pay a negotiated rate less than that, she said it raises real concerns about how uninsured people will be able to pay for medical care if they suspect they have COVID-19.

"Imagine if I didn't have insurance," Ms. McCarthy told The City.

A spokesperson for NYU Lanfone told Business Insider that billing differs by patient, insurer and provider and that "the bill in question charged the insurer a fee, the insurer paid a negotiated percentage of that fee and the patient owed only a copay of $75." 

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