April 9, 2020

Miami man with ‘junk plan’ owes thousands after hospital visit for coronavirus symptoms

A man in Miami went to Jackson Memorial Hospital last month to receive a test for coronavirus after developing flu-like symptoms. He didn’t have the virus, but he was hit with a $3,270 medical bill, according to the Miami Herald.

Osmel Martinez Azcue said he normally would have used over-the-counter medicine to fight his flu-like symptoms. However, since he had recently visited China, he followed the advice of public health experts and went to the hospital to get tested for coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Mr. Azcue said hospital staff told him a CT scan would be necessary to screen for coronavirus. He asked to receive a flu test first. The flu test came back positive.

A few weeks after leaving Jackson Memorial Hospital, Mr. Azcue received a $3,270 medical bill. Though he was insured, Mr. Azcue had a so-called “junk plan,” which offered limited benefits and didn’t cover pre-existing conditions.

Based on his insurance plan, Mr. Azcue is responsible for $1,400 of the bill, hospital officials told the Miami Herald. However, to get the claim covered, Mr. Azcue said his insurance company requested three years of medical records to show that his flu didn’t relate to pre-existing conditions.

The sale of “junk plans,” like the one Mr. Azcue pays $180 per month for, expanded after President Donald Trump’s administration rolled back ACA regulations in 2018.

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