Back in Miami (FL) in January from a working trip to China, Osmel Martinez Azcuy was in a frightening situation: he had symptoms similar to the flu, but at the same time similar and coronavirus. This writes the Miami Herald.
Under normal circumstances Azcue said he would buy the standard drug and would fight with the flu on their own, but this time it was different. Because public health authorities emphasized the readiness and asked to be vigilant against respiratory diseases, Azkue felt a responsibility to the family and people in General, and decided to get tested for the new coronavirus known as COVID-19.
He went to Memorial hospital Jackson, where, according to him, he was placed in a closed room. Nurses in white protective suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant at the door before entering, said Azcue. Then the hospital staff told him that he would need computed tomography to detect coronavirus, but Azcue said that initially he was asked to do a test for influenza.
“Let’s start with the blood test, and if I get a positive result, then just let me go” — recounts his words to the doctors Ascui.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened. He had the flu, not a deadly virus, which has infected tens of thousands of people, mostly in China, and killed more than 2 thousand people.
But two weeks later, Azcuy received a medical bill for $3 270.
In 2018, the administration of President Donald trump has cancelled provisions of the Law on affordable medical care and launched the so-called “junk” restricted plans. Consumers mistakenly believe that plans with lower monthly costs are better than no insurance, but often the plans do not differ much from that at all possible to obtain without insurance.
Government hospital in Jackson said that based on his insurance, Ascui shall only be liable for $1,400 USD this account, but Azcue said that he will have to provide additional documentation: three years of medical documentation for evidence that the flu which he has received, does not apply to pre-existing condition.
Although the situation Ascui shows the potential value of testing for the disease, which, as epidemiologists feared could lead to a crisis in public health in the United States, one insurance specialist considers this episode as a cautionary story about the potential risks related to deregulation in the insurance market.
“When someone has flu symptoms appear, you want to seek medical help, said Sabrina Corlette, a Professor at Georgetown University and one of the Directors of the Center for reform of medical insurance. — If they have one of these limited insurance plans and they know that they could be on the hook. And that they will spend more than you can afford, asking for help, many of them simply do not want to go to the hospital, and is a public health problem”.
According to Azkue, he earns about $55 000 a year working in the company for the production of medical devices that do not offer health insurance, but his insurance plan was not always so narrow. Azcuy said that until recently he was the insurance, corresponding to the Law affordable care that cost him about $278 per month.
These contributions grew to $400 dollars a month, when his annual salary increased, so he had to refuse insurance. Now Ascui pays $180 per month for a limited plan.
Corlette said that the requirement of a limited insurance plan to provide three years of medical records before the insurance coverage begins to act, are not uncommon. The Professor said that she saw that these documents are required in case of such conditions as cancer and other diseases.
“This is a critical difference between the plans is the affordable care Act maintenance and limited plans, she said. — Limited plans will not cover pre-existing conditions”.
Government hospital in Jackson say that the way several accounts for Ascui, but it is unclear what sort of amount.
According to Azkue, his experience highlights how expenditure on health care in the United States can affect the prevention of crises in public health.
“How can they expect normal citizens to contribute to the elimination of the potential risk of spread of the virus from person to person, if hospitals are waiting to charge us $3 270 per simple blood test and a swab from the nose?” he said.
Plans that meet the affordable care Act services often have high fees, said Corlette, but is likely to provide a good compensation, the more limited plans. In addition, she added, these plans are required to cover flu vaccinations and other preventive care.
“The idea that the insurer will have to scroll through three years of their records, just to determine whether the flu pre-existing disease, just crazy, said Corlette. But this is most of these plans.”
The latest news and everything you need to know about the outbreak of a novel coronavirus from China, read the special ForumDaily “Chinese coronavirus”.