They first fought the virus. Now they are fighting the medical bills.
Shubham Chandra left a high-paying job at a New York start-up in part to deal with the hundreds of medical bills resulting from his father’s seven-month hospital stay. His father, a cardiologist, died of coronavirus last fall.
For months, he spent 10 to 20 hours a week paying fees, using his mornings to read new bills and his afternoons for calls to insurers and hospitals. His spreadsheet recently showed 97 bills rejected by insurance with a potential of over $ 400,000 that the family could owe. Mr Chandra tells suppliers his father is no longer alive, but the bills keep piling up.
“A big part of my life is thinking about these bills,” he says. “It can become an obstacle to my daily life. It’s hard to sleep when you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debt. “
Some coronavirus patients postpone additional medical care for long-term side effects until they can settle their existing debts. They find that the long-haul coronavirus often requires visits to several specialists and numerous tests to resolve the lingering symptoms, but they are concerned that they will accumulate more debt.
Irena Schulz, 61, a retired biologist who lives in South Carolina, fell ill with the coronavirus last summer. It has several persistent side effects, including hearing and kidney problems. She recently received a bill for $ 5,400 for hearing aids (to help with coronavirus-related hearing loss) that she expected her health insurance to cover.
She avoided going to the emergency room when she felt ill because she was worried about the costs. She manages her kidney pain on her own, at home, until she can afford to see a specialist.
“I continue with Tylenol and drink a lot of water, and I’ve noticed that it helps if I drink a lot of pineapple juice,” she says. “If the pain exceeds a certain threshold, I will see a doctor. We are retired, we have a fixed income, and there is little you can accumulate on the credit card. “