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Uninsured woman with cancer is hit with $35K hospital bill after testing positive for coronavirus

Uninsured woman battling cancer is hit with a whopping $34,927 hospital bill after being treated for coronavirus

  • Danni Askini who is battling lymphoma, recently tested positive for coronavirus 
  • The uninsured woman initially went to the ER but was denied a test for the virus 
  • When symptoms worsened, she went back, was tested and received medication
  • During that time, Askini lost health insurance and her husband was between jobs
  • When she got the bill for the ER visits and coronavirus test it came to $34,927.43 
  • Her testing and treatment happened before Congress passed legislation making coronavirus tests free and the legislation doesn’t cover tests retroactively 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

An uninsured Massachusetts woman who is also battling cancer was hit with a $35,000 hospital bill after she tested positive for coronavirus. 

Danni Askini, who has lymphoma, said she started having symptoms of the virus at the end of February. 

On February 29 she visited the ER at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center where she says she was initially denied a test for coronavirus. 

Massachusetts woman, Danni Askini, who is also battling cancer was hit with a $35,000 bill after she tested positive for coronavirus

Massachusetts woman, Danni Askini, who is also battling cancer was hit with a $35,000 bill after she tested positive for coronavirus

Danni Askini, who has lymphoma, said she started having symptoms of the virus at the end of February. On February 29 she visited the ER at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (partial bill breakdown) where she says she was initially denied a test for coronavirus

Danni Askini, who has lymphoma, said she started having symptoms of the virus at the end of February. On February 29 she visited the ER at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (partial bill breakdown) where she says she was initially denied a test for coronavirus

Askini's hospital bill shows that the COVID-19 test alone cost her $907 (highlighted)

This portion of the bill shows other fees associated with her hospital visits

Askini’s hospital bill shows that the COVID-19 test alone cost her $907 (highlighted left)

According to her hospital bill, Askini visited the same ER on March 1. She says she didn’t receive a test on that visit either. 

It wasn’t until her third visit on March 6 that she received a test for the coronavirus after her symptoms worsened. 

During her first ER visit, Askini was not insured. She and her husband were preparing to move to Washington, DC, where she was about to start a new job, according to Time.       

And after her treatment, she received the bill totaling 34,927.43.

‘I was pretty sticker-shocked,’ she told the news site. ‘I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money.’ 

In a tweet, Askini shared a photo of her bill that revealed the COVID-19 test alone cost her $907.  

During her first ER visit, Askini (pictured) was not insured. She and her husband were preparing to move to Washington, DC, where she was about to start a new job. And after her treatment, she received the bill totaling 34,927.43

During her first ER visit, Askini (pictured) was not insured. She and her husband were preparing to move to Washington, DC, where she was about to start a new job. And after her treatment, she received the bill totaling 34,927.43

'I was pretty sticker-shocked,' Askini said about the bill she received from the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (file image). 'I personally don't know anybody who has that kind of money'

‘I was pretty sticker-shocked,’ Askini said about the bill she received from the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (file image). ‘I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money’

‘I got excellent care, I am immunocompromised, but this will take a decade to pay off,’ she tweeted. 

Askini has also tweeted her story at President Donald Trump asking him to ‘please help’.

Her treatment and testing took place before Congress passed a bill to provide free testing for the coronavirus.

Askini has since re-applied for Medicaid with hopes that the program will retroactively cover her bills.   

The real costs of seeking care for COVID-19 vary across and within major US cities 

Although the coronavirus relief measures signed by the President in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act have directed private health plans to waive the cost of the specific coronavirus test and visit associated with it, people who are symptomatic and seek care may be responsible for other costs required for an evaluation for COVID-19. 

These could include influenza testing, chest x-rays, and bacterial, viral, or blood culture tests. These costs can add up quickly, particularly for the 27.5 million people with no insurance or those who have high-deductible health plans and will pay for services out-of-pocket.

The severity of COVID-19 varies widely, from mild cough and fever, to chest pains and shortness of breath, which can drastically affect the necessary treatment, need for hospitalization, and associated costs. 

Within a given US city, average prices vary greatly for patients exhibiting standard COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath:

  • In Los Angeles, the cost for a primary care visit and standard lab testing ranges from $304 to $4447
  • In Dallas, the cost for the same services ranges from $193 to $4308
  • Similarly, in Miami, these services range in cost from $354 to $5729

Costs also vary widely depending on the provider type or site of care:

  • Even without symptoms severe enough to warrant further imaging or lab testing, a visit to evaluate respiratory symptoms can cost someone living in the New York metro area an average of $79 for a telehealth visit, $235 for a primary care visit, $352 for an urgent care visit, and $2,321 for an ER visit.
  • In Miami, patients can expect costs for evaluating symptoms to average $79 for using telehealth as their entry point, $189 for visits through a primary care provider, $483 for visits through an urgent care provider, and $1,524 if they enter the system through the ER.

Source: Castlight Health 

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Written by Angle News

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