11 mind-blowing facts that show how coronavirus could create a new financial crisis for everyday Americans
- The novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to at least 81 other countries, including the US.
- While CDC testing for coronavirus is free, a hospital trip and other procedures to rule out coronavirus can still cost thousands of dollars.
- But avoiding the doctor for financial reasons could potentially amplify the spread of the virus.
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Coronavirus is putting Americans' physical and financial health at risk.
The outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, and so far has killed nearly 3,300 people and infected more than 97,000. The virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 81 other countries. Most of the deaths have occurred in mainland China, but 230 deaths have been reported elsewhere, including 11 in the US.
While the virus has a 3.4% death rate as of this week, experts predict that will get lower as more cases are reported. That's because the virus is, for most people, non-lethal.
But it does have the potential to wipe out the savings of some everyday Americans who are struggling to afford medical costs. A trip to the ER or urgent care for coronavirus can set them back by thousands of dollars, to the point of bankruptcy, but avoiding treatment for financial reasons could potentially amplify the spread of the virus.
Here are 11 facts that show the new financial crisis that getting coronavirus treatment could create for the typical American.
1. The CDC isn't billing for testing, but patients aren't off the hook for charges related to tests for other viruses or conditions or the trip to the medical provider itself.
2. Miami resident Osmel Martinez Azcue was charged $3,270 for coronavirus treatment related costs, including an ER visit and flu testing.
3. And Frank Wucinski, who doesn't have insurance, was billed $3,918 for a government-mandated quarantine and coronavirus testing for him and his daughter.
4. Possible procedures related to coronavirus treatments could range from $441 to $1,151 for an out-of-network ER visit, according to Fair Health estimates.
5. The average deductible for an individual who gets health insurance through work is $1,655.
6. But 27 million Americans don't have insurance. Of those ages 18 to 65 who are uninsured, 28% had trouble paying medical bills in the past year, according to a CDC report.
7. And insured Americans have to worry about surprise billing, which hits one in 6 ER or hospital patients, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Report.
8. If your in-network facility is at capacity, it could divert you to an out-of-network facility where bills could exceed $10,000.
9. More than a quarter of US adults have put off or postponed getting health care because of their finances, according to another KFF report.
9. Coronavirus treatment could financially set back the half of American households who had $4,500 or less in checking or savings accounts as of 2016.
11. A personal bankruptcy lawyer told Business Insider that coronavirus could potentially cause more Americans to go bankrupt.
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