JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s no secret that a trip to the hospital can get expensive, whether it’s for a broken finger or a heart attack. And seeking medical care for COVID-19 is no exception.
As a News4Jax survey of Insiders found, viewers who have been hospitalized with the deadly disease have seen medical bills ranging from $2,000 on the low end all the way up to $20,000.
But health experts say there’s no need for Floridians to get stuck with a pricey invoice.
“These bills are entirely preventable at this point, or almost entirely preventable if you go out and get the vaccine,” said Justin Senior, chief executive officer of Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.
Senior said getting vaccinated can not only prevent people from getting seriously sick but also avoid the staggering bill they might face should they contract the disease and end up in the hospital.
For those with health insurance, it might not go as far as people expect. As some viewers have found, coverage in some cases only helps defray some of the cost of their hospital stays.
One Insider, who has health insurance, told News4Jax he was billed $2,000 for what he described as “a simple exam and medications.” Another Insider said their $2,000 bill was completely covered.
But compared to others with significantly higher bills, those two were fortunate.
“I was treated at a hospital and my bill was over $15,000,” one Insider told News4Jax, while another said their husband’s five-day stay in the hospital cost $20,000, even after insurance covered $26,000.
According UF Health Jacksonville, the health system does not charge more for a COVID-19 patient. The bill is similar to that of any other patient who seeks medical care at UF Health.
HCA Healthcare, the parent company of Memorial Hospital and Orange Park Medical Center, said while every case is different, patients aren’t charged beyond what insurers pay for COVID-19 treatments.
According to Healthcare Advocates Inc., the average patient can expect to pay $10,000 a day if they’re in the intensive care unit, and that doesn’t include the use of a ventilator.
Senior told News4Jax the best protection for your body and your wallet is to get the vaccine.
“The bill is entirely avoidable, the hospitalization is likely entirely avoidable and certainly becoming a fatality is entirely avoidable at this point,” he said.
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