How To Manage Covid-19 Medical Bills

covid dollars

As rates of Covid-19 infections continue to ebb and flow, most people are plain sick of the pandemic. But getting sick, or working hard to avoid infection, may not be the end of your worries. If you need treatment, Covid-19 medical bills could lead to financial headaches as well.

Here’s the good news:

If you aren’t already vaccinated and boosted, you can still get vaccinated for free. There is no cost to being vaccinated. You’ll be doing yourself, your loved ones, your friends and co-workers, your neighbors, and the economy a huge favor. Find the nearest vaccination locations near you.

If you are vaccinated, even if you get infected with Covid-19, you should be well protected from serious illness and hospitalization. You may not get sick enough to incur huge Covid-19 medical bills like you might if you weren’t vaccinated.

If you think you have Covid-19 (even if you are confused as to whether it could be a cold or flu instead), in most cases, you can get tested for free. Or your insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid, will pay for testing. Here’s where to find a testing site near you. You can also order at-home test kits for free.

Here’s another piece of good news: If your living situation has changed, you may be able to find a better rate on health insurance. Even if you missed the annual Open Enrollment period, changes such as losing a job, getting divorced or married, or having a baby, can qualify you to sign up for new health insurance. Need help finding the best policy for you or your family? Ask a health advocate.

Here’s the bad news:

If you have been sick with Covid-19 and you got treatment in an emergency room, doctor’s office, or clinic, then you probably have to pay for it. No matter how careful or careless you have been, if you got treatment, chances are, you’ll probably bear those costs.

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If you are not vaccinated, you’re not only putting your health in jeopardy. You’re also putting your financial health at risk.

But your specific costs depend on your insurance coverage, what treatment or services you need, and where you get care. Check with your insurance provider to see what your financial liability is. In general, the less you spend on your health insurance policy, the more you probably have to pay out of pocket unless you qualify for free or heavily subsidized coverage.

Here’s the really ugly news:

If you get sick, and receive treatment, and die anyway, your heirs (your family – partner and children) may be responsible for paying your medical bills.

If you get sick, and receive treatment, you will get medical bills. Period. But some bills are wrong. And some of them are illegal. They are called Balance Bills. If you have certain types of health insurance, and your insurer pays your provider, it can actually be illegal for them to balance bill you. But how can you be sure?

Let’s try more good news now:

Digital Illustration: A medical billing angel

There are people who can help you sort out medical bills, whether the bills are related to Covid-19 treatment or not. They may even be able to help you reduce those bills or even get them forgiven all together.

They can figure out which are balance bills and if you’ve been over-charged. And, they can figure out if the bills have been already paid by your insurer, but you are being billed anyway.

Then, with your permission, they can work on getting the bills reduced or forgiven altogether.

Who are these medical billing angels? They are private patient advocates. You’ll pay them for their service, and it will be well worth it if they can lower your medical bills.

Learn more about how advocates can help with medical bills and find them here.

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