USA: “Test kosztuje od $199 do $6,408”

USA: “Test kosztuje od $199 do $6,408”

Show us your coronavirus bills

 

Debbie Krebs went to the hospital in March with lung pain and a cough, and a doctor swabbed her nose for the coronavirus. A week later, the laboratory called with her results: negative. But when the hospital bill arrived, the coronavirus test was missing. Without it, Ms. Krebs didn’t qualify for protections Congress had put in place that barred insurers from charging patients for visits meant to diagnose the coronavirus. She was told she owed $1,980.
Across the United States, Americans like Ms. Krebs are receiving surprise bills for coronavirus care. Tests for the virus can cost $199 to $6,408 at the same location. A coming wave of treatment bills could be hundreds of times higher.

 

This patchwork of medical billing is one reason our colleague Sarah Kliff, an investigative reporter who covers health care, is starting something new today: She’s asking readers to send in copies of medical bills for coronavirus testing and treatment. She told us that the prices hospitals and insurers negotiate are kept secret from the public, and patients often don’t know the price until they get a bill.

“It’s a very inefficient method to ask people to send in their bills, but it’s the best strategy we’ve got,” Sarah told us. “My hope is to really shine a light on how this is affecting patients. And then, people can make decisions about where to be treated, and legislators can decide if something should be done to change this.

 

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