CBS: When Jaden Janak learned he had been exposed to COVID-19 shortly after his 75-year-old grandmother died from the virus last year, he knew what he had to do. He went to the hospital for a rapid test that he thought would be free.
He was wrong. Several months later, the Texas resident received two bills totaling over $4,000.
“I felt very angry. I felt deceived,” Janak told CBS News’ consumer investigative correspondent Anna Werner.
Janak is not alone. Although COVID-19 testing costs are supposed to be covered under most circumstances, some people have been getting large and confusing bills, including some for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The first bill Janak received was for about $2,700, covering the emergency room and lab fees. He later received a doctor’s bill for some $1,300.
His insurance provider, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, told him not to worry because it would send him a check for those bills, he said. It eventually did send him a check that he used to pay the Tulsa ER & Hospital, Janak said. But unbeknownst to him, a second check the insurer sent him never arrived, he said, leaving him fighting the hospital’s bill and getting collection calls for nearly a year.
The hospital told CBS News it will accept whatever money Janak’s insurance company sends him and that once they get it, he won’t owe anything more.
“What if this happens to someone else and they do truly believe that they are personally liable for these charges? How are they going to be able to make ends meet given where the economy is?” Janak said.
Barry and Jaime Constanzo of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had a similar experience in September. They were planning to visit their grandchildren when they developed what they thought might be coronavirus symptoms and went to the only location they say had rapid tests available that day: Conway Medical Center. Their results were negative, but they did get the bills — totaling some $570 after their insurance paid. more here