If you get COVID-19 and you find yourself in the hospital, the last thing you need is to get a big medical bill for your stay. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act covers the cost of COVID-19 testing, but it doesn't cover the cost of treatment.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average potential cost of COVID-19 treatment with employer health insurance would be more than $9700. That's without medical complications. If you have complications, the cost could be double that, estimated at more than $20,000.
"The most important thing is to get yourself some sort of insurance before you get sick," said Sadie Tuescher with Wisconsin Health Insurance Advocate, LLC.
Tuescher says Wisconsinites laid off during the pandemic who lost their work-based health insurance now have access to special enrollment on the marketplace, healthcare.gov. Tuescher says in this health crisis, any coverage is better than none.
"You can at least get yourself a short term plan that would help mitigate some of the bills," said Tuescher.
Tuesher says consumers can check out her agency, Wisconsin Health Insurance Advocate, LLC at 414-797-3408. Their enrollment services are no cost to the consumer.
If you or a family member are already experiencing symptoms or in the hospital Tuescher says, it's likely too late to get health insurance.
But depending on your income level, there are options to help you pay for what could be pricey medical bills like Badger Care or financial help from your hospital.
"If you are experiencing bills and are uninsured and you are in the hospital you can definitely ask about the hospitals' charity care," she continued.
With charity care, if you qualify, the hospital pays your bills. All three major hospital groups in southeast Wisconsin, Aurora, Froedtert, and Ascension offer charity care and sent TMJ4 the below information:
We offer charity care to those who qualify regardless of diagnosis. Patients can access this helpful information on our website and by contacting our Financial Advocates at 1-800-326-2250.
Froedtert Health offers charity care to assist patients who are unable to pay their hospital bills and that hasn’t changed. You can learn more by visiting our website [froedtert.com].
Ascension Wisconsin has taken the following steps to ensure the care patients receive does not add an undue financial burden during the COVID pandemic:
Patients who are uninsured will not be billed for COVID-19 related testing or treatment
Patients who are insured will not be billed for out-of-pocket expenses (ex: copays) related to COVID-19 testing or treatment
Financial assistance applications will be valid for one year to reduce the burden of re-application
Our payment grace period has been extended to four months (120 days).
Patients who are unable to make their monthly payments, should call the number listed on their billing statement to have a hold placed on their account.
As the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, Ascension Wisconsin is diligently monitoring the situation to ensure we are protecting our patients, associates, and the communities we are privileged to serve.
For additional information on financial assistance in Ascension Wisconsin please visit https://healthcare.ascension.org/Financial-Assistance/Wisconsin [healthcare.ascension.org].