Thanks to a Congressional funding bill and insurance, he likely will not have to pay the 181-page bill

By Julie Mazziotta
June 15, 2020 02:13 PM
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A Seattle man who spent 62 days in the hospital with a near-deadly case of COVID-19 had a “heart-stopping” moment when he received the bill, for $1.1 million.

Michael Flor, 70, had a severe case of COVID-19, the Seattle Times reported. He spent most of those 62 days at Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah, Washington in a sealed room in the intensive care unit to protect others at the hospital, and 29 days on a ventilator. His heart, kidneys and liver were all failing at points during his stay, and at one point he was so close to dying that a nurse held a phone up to his ear so his wife and kids could say their last goodbyes.

But Flor recovered, and finally went home at the beginning of May. Seeing his hospital bill, though, was a shock.

“I opened it and said ‘holy [bleep]!’ ” he told the Times.

The 181-page hospital bill includes a day fee of $9,736 — $408,912 total — for his ICU room, around a quarter of a million for the various drugs doctors tried on him and $82,215 for the ventilator he used for 29 days. In all, the bill was for $1,122,501.04, and includes almost 3,000 itemized charges.

Flor also thinks more bills are on the way for the two weeks he spent in a rehabilitation center, his dialysis treatments and for the doctors’ labor.

“I feel guilty about surviving,” he said. “There’s a sense of ‘why me?’ Why did I deserve all this? Looking at the incredible cost of it all definitely adds to that survivor’s guilt.”

Thankfully, Flor most likely will not have to pay any of it. He has Medicare and Medicare Advantage insurance through Kaiser Permanente, which would cover the bulk of the bill. The company has said that they will waive most out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatment in 2020 thanks to the $100 billion emergency funding bill from Congress, meaning he likely won’t have to pull together his estimated $6,000 co-pay.

Flor also feels guilty that he has good health insurance when other Americans do not, and he also recognizes that thanks to the funding bill, his hospital stay is paid for from taxpayer money and insurance money from people with non-COVID-19 bills.

“It was a million bucks to save my life, and of course I’d say that’s money well-spent,” he says. “But I also know I might be the only one saying that.”

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