SEATTLE -- Dubbed the "miracle child" after two months in the hospital, 70-year-old Michael Flor survived COVID-19 only to receive a bill listing out more than $1 million in charges for his time in the hospital.
The 181-page bill included $9,700 in charges for each day Flor spent in intensive care as well as an $80,000 charge for the 29 days Flor spent on a ventilator. And his care isn't over yet: Flor remains on dialysis as he continues to recover from COVID-19.
Medicare will likely cover most of Flor's charges, and the federal government did pass legislation earlier this year providing funds for coronavirus care. If a hospital receives those funds, patients should be protected from surprise medical bills.
Swedish Medical Center, Flor's hospital, told ABC News in a statement, "At this time, Swedish has not initiated any patient billing for COVID-19 treatment. We are working closely with insurers to settle reimbursement for care before billing patient out-of-pocket costs."
Kaiser Permanente, Flor's insurer, added, "We have not received the itemized statement...should there be any disagreement over the bill, it will be worked out between us and the hospital. The patient is not financially responsible in these cases, we are."
"As we see patients discharged from the hospital after serious COVID-19 infections, they are receiving sometimes very large bills," Christen Linke-Young, a fellow with the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, told ABC News. "There is a huge amount of confusion out there among both providers and patients about how all of this is supposed to work."
Those who received coronavirus care are advised not to pay their bill right away. Instead, they should contact their insurer to find out which charges they are actually responsible for and which charges are negotiable.