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Are Rising Medical Costs Associated with COVID-19 the Sign of a Bigger Problem?

Posted by Devin Wood on March 30, 2020

As the Coronavirus continues to cause illness and hospitalization, health care experts are receiving a larger set of data to work with, and they’re better able to understand the virus that has caused a world-wide pandemic. This data includes the fees associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalization. The Medliminal® team put out an article last week addressing the large medical costs associated with COVID-19 that could potentially surpass $20,000 per employee. That number has now increased, according to a patient named Danni Askini. 

Last week, Time Magazine reported that Danni Askini had tested positive for COVID-19, was hospitalized for treatment, and then taken off guard by a resulting $34,927.43 medical bill. According to the article, this all started when Askini came down with some of the typical symptoms of the virus; shortness of breath, a cough, a fever, and migraine. Her doctor told her to head to the emergency room, where she was told that she likely had pneumonia and was then discharged. 

Time reported that, as her condition worsened, Askini made several more trips to the ER that week. On the seventh day of feeling ill, she was given one last test prior to being sent home for recovery. The results revealed that Askini’s fears were correct; she tested positive for Coronavirus. Currently uninsured, Askini did apply for Medicaid in the hopes that her bills will be retroactively covered. If her plan doesn’t pan out, she will be responsible for covering those costs.

Although $34,927.43 is an alarmingly high cost to pay for treatment, this is not an isolated incident. Most individuals infected with COVID-19 are able to recover at home, but there are still many patients who will need to seek treatment at a hospital. Those who visit the ICU can expect hefty medical bills, even if they have insurance. Those without insurance, around 27 million Americans, will likely be in the same boat as Askini if they require hospitalization. 

Though the American government is struggling to find a solution for those who are impacted by COVID-19, Medliminal’s CEO, James Napoli, has some thoughts, “While these significant medical bills are causing fear and stress amongst the American people, and rightfully so, they are merely a symptom of a broken system.” Mr. Napoli is referencing the issue that his company, Medliminal®, aims to resolve; billing errors on medical bills.

Medical billing errors have cost the US an estimated $67 billion, medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy, and yet, more than 90 percent of medical bills contain errors. This is where Medliminal comes in. As a medical cost containment company, Medliminal identifies errors of medical bills, advocates on behalf of their clients, and assists with cost recovery.  “At a time like this, it’s awful that people are having to worry about excessive medical bills”, Napoli expressed, “However, you can count on this issue persisting long after the COVID-19 pandemic comes to a close. We need to demand cost transparency and address the billing errors that are on nearly all medical bills.”


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Devin Wood




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Topics: Medliminal, healthcare, Employers, 2020, #COVID19, #Coronavirus, #DanniAskini, #Uninsured, #MedicalBills, Resources

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