Man beats COVID-19, says $1.1M tab for treatment adds to 'survivor's guilt'

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

A 70-year-old man in Seattle said the total cost of his COVID-19 treatment was more than $1.1 million, according to The Seattle Times

Michael Flor was in Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah, Wash., with COVID-19 for more than 60 days. He told The Seattle Times that the nearly 3,000 itemized charges for his treatment were included in a 181-page explanation of benefits he received from his insurance company after he returned home. 

Mr. Flor won't have to pay most of the bill because he has insurance, including Medicare. However, he said looking through the long list of charges brought on feelings of guilt. 

"I feel guilty about surviving," he told The Seattle Times. "There's a sense of 'why me?' Why did I deserve all this? Looking at the incredible cost of it all definitely adds to that survivor's guilt." 

The list of charges included a $408,912 charge for the 42 days he was in the hospital's isolation chamber and a total charge of $82,215 for the 29 days he was on a mechanical ventilator. Roughly a quarter of the bill was drug costs, and his insurer was billed $9,736 for each day he was in the intensive care unit, according to the report. 

Most hospitals don't get paid the full amount they bill because they have negotiated discounts with insurance companies. Patients, both insured and uninsured, treated for COVID-19 are largely supposed to be exempt from significant out-of-pocket costs for their care. Congress has allocated $175 billion to hospitals and other healthcare providers to help make up for the lost revenue and expenses tied to the pandemic. 

Access the full article from The Seattle Times here

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