Seattle man Michael Flor is a former long-time COVID-19 hospital patient who, when he unexpectedly did not die, was jokingly dubbed “the miracle child.” Flor, age 70, came so close to death that a night-shift nurse held a phone to his ear while his wife and kids said their final goodbyes. Flor battled with coronavirus for 62 days.
… He’s recovering nicely these days at his home but he says his heart almost failed a second time when he got the hospital bill the other day. The total tab for his time with the coronavirus: $1,122,501.04. All in one bill it’s about 181 pages. The bill is technically an explanation of charges, and because Flor has insurance including Medicare, he won’t have to pay the vast majority of it.
… Just the charge for his room in the intensive care unit was billed at $9,736 per day. Due to the contagious nature of the virus, the room was sealed and could only be entered by medical workers wearing plastic suits and headgear. For 42 days he was in this isolation chamber, for a total charged cost of $408,912.
… He also was on a mechanical ventilator for 29 days, with the use of the machine billed at $2,835 per day, for a total of $82,215. About a quarter of the bill is drug costs.
… For the two days when his heart, kidneys and lungs were all failing and he was nearest death, the bill runs for 20 pages and totals nearly $100,000 as doctors “were throwing everything at me they could think of,” Flor says. In all, there are nearly 3,000 itemized charges, about 50 per day. The charges don’t include the two weeks of recuperating he did in a rehab facility.
… Flor has insurance for most of the bill and there are special financial rules that apply only to COVID-19. Congress set aside more than $100 billion to help hospitals and insurance companies defray the costs of the pandemic, in part to encourage people to seek testing and treatment (including those with no insurance). As a result, Flor probably won’t have to pay even his Medicare Advantage policy’s out-of-pocket charges, which could have amounted to $6,000.