October 7, 2021

Is Covid adding to your medical bills?

Anthony Tilghman
Anthony Tilghman, is an 2x Award-winning photographer, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the 2020 & 2021 Dateline award for Excellence in Local Journalism.

Did you know that a “Covid” fee might pop up on your medical bills when you or a loved one access healthcare? Though the surprise billing might throw you off, it is happening across America.

Healthcare providers across the country are adding “Covid” fees to patient billing. According to The New York Times, these healthcare providers’ surprise billing is being implemented to bear the costs and financial difficulties associated with the pandemic.

In their investigation on the “Covid” fee, the New York Times spoke to Michael Hambley, who got a call from his 87-year-old mother in July last year. His mother told him that the assisted living facility that she paid for using her pension required her to pay an additional one-time $900 fee to cater for masks, cleaning supplies and meal delivery.

The New York Times soon realized that Michael’s mother’s case was not an isolated incident. Jennifer Koeckhoven had a similar experience when she was found a $60 personal protective equipment charge on her mother’s ambulance bill- a charge not covered by the insurance.

The “Covid” fee was found to be most rampant in dental offices and assisted living facilities. Since the onset of the pandemic, health providers have had to wear protective gear and sanitize in the face of declining revenue.

Dental offices have lost billions in revenue due to the suspension of nonurgent dental care. In the same vein, assisted living facilities have had to reduce the number of admissions to their facilities.

Most healthcare providers have had to turn to their patients to address the revenue shortfall. And to make up for the revenue shrinkage, “Covid” and “PPE” fees have been added to patients’ medical bills.

Last year, the American Dental Association urged dental health plans to repay a new fee to cover the expense. While some health plans did as per the association’s suggestion, some haven’t—leaving patients fumbling to clear these bills independently.

These fees have come under much pressure, considering they came as many Americans were reeling from job loss. State attorneys generally felt that charging patients directly was taking advantage of vulnerable consumers and would violate health insurance contracts and consumer protection laws.

And despite some insurance companies covering Covid costs, a 2020 study by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation calculated the potential costs of Covid-19 treatment and care for people that get their insurance through employers, found that people with private insurance who become seriously ill could face out-of-pocket costs of more $1,300.

These surprise billings are likely to discourage consumers from seeking medical treatment for fears of incurring additional medical bills. While Federal law requires insurers to waive cost-sharing for Covid-19 testing and the associated medical visit, the waiver does not extend to treatment.  It, unfortunately, does not extend to prevent balance billing if an out-of-network provider or facility treats a patient.

Read More Articles Like This

Courtesy of Eagle Productions, LLC

Dr. Tracy Reed Offers an Essential Pharmacy for Walnut Park Residents in St Louis, MO

Dr. Reed opened the TPD Pharmacy in the Walnut Park West neighborhood to improve access to prescription medicine in the community. “As a responsible medical professional, I felt the need to bring much-needed healthcare services to a challenged community,” said Dr. Reed. A noted community advocate, Dr. Reed also served as a Founding Director of the Missouri Foundation for Health and has actively participated with Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America and Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.

Read More »

Part 2 of A Series About the Church and Tithing

However, the called upon my life is Apostolic and that’s the realm I operated from within that anointing. It means a lot more than the definition provides and that’s why I tackle subjects that others may run from, and this is one of those, Tithing.

Read More »
San Juan courtesy of Forbes

Fall in love with Puerto Rico All over again

Many of my clients would be scared off from Puerto Rico because it doesn’t have all-Inclusive resorts.  I had not been here to be able to give them enough information to sway them back into traveling here.  Now, that I have experienced the island, I can fully recommend coming to this US Territory.

Read More »
Jamie Schwaberow Getty Images Of Lamar Jackson

Sports Tidbits NFL Week 7: Predictions and Fantasy Picks

Chiefs vs Titans – Chiefs win in a squeaker.  It’s a 50/50 game with the way King Henry is running and the way Patrick Mahomes is turning it over.  If Mahomes can stay away from Turnovers, the Chiefs win. If they turn it over a bunch like they have been and they are in trouble.

Read More »