The coronavirus has ruined almost everything you were probably looking forward to this year. COVID-19 has gotten in the way of everything from live sports and concerts to movies, gyms, and vacations. Even now, some states still haven’t fully opened up and a lot of business are still unclear on whether or not they will ever return to business as usual. Economically, the impact from this virus has left over 40 million people unemployed, and while the government has introduced relief bills including $1,200 stimulus checks, many still haven’t received theirs and if they have, that money is long gone by now. For business owners, the SBA loans were given to those who don’t actually need it, leaving entrepreneurs on their own.
One thing that people who actually caught COVID-19 are having to deal with on top of all that are their hospital bills for coronavirus treatment. Even without a vaccine, a hospital stay still comes at a hefty price. According to the Seattle Times, one of their residents, Michael Flor, received a bill that topped $1 million for treatment and was 181 pages long.
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.
The list of charges indirectly tells the story of Flor’s battle. 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.
Mr. Flor does have insurance and Medicare, so he knows he won’t have to pay the bulk of the bill. Also, with his reason for hospitalization being COVID-19-related, he might not have to pay anything. However, he says the huge price of the bill and knowing taxpayers will have to pay has given him extreme survivor’s guilt.
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“It gets pretty mentally heavy,” said Harborview Medical Center ICU nurse Kayla Durler. A nurse for eight years, she answers a call about staffing. (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times) Two months into the pandemic, the patients keep coming and the local health workers who care for them are sometimes contracting the virus. At least 1,626 health staffers have tested positive in Washington. The crisis has changed the nature of jobs and intruded into personal lives in all sorts of ways. To read Nina Shapiro's full story, "From working in the coronavirus ‘hot zone’ to protecting their families, Washington health professionals reveal their struggles," visit our website at www.seattletimes.com.