CommonSpirit suspends patient billing for COVID-19 testing, treatment

CommonSpirit Health, a Chicago-based system with 142 hospitals in 21 states, will suspend patient billing related to the testing and treatment of COVID-19. 

"The last thing our patients should worry about if they experience symptoms characteristic of this coronavirus is the cost of seeking care," said Lloyd Dean, CEO of CommonSpirit Health. 

With its March 17 announcement, CommonSpirit Health joins a growing list of health systems halting bills for patients being tested and treated for COVID-19.

Last week, Advocate Aurora Health, a 28-hospital system with headquarters in Milwaukee and Downers Grove, Ill., and Providence, a 51-hospital system in Renton, Wash., announced they would hold off on sending patients bills for the testing and treatment of COVID-19.

Halting medical bills for patients seeking care related to COVID-19 is not an industrywide standard, Axios reported. However, some U.S. patients have raised concerns about the high cost of care related to COVID-19, including a Miami resident who had $1,400 in out-of-pocket costs related to coronavirus-related treatment. 

In another instance, a Brooklyn 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, her case and others raise questions about how uninsured Americans will be able to afford tests and treatment if they are diagnosed with COVID-19.

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