What kind of medical cost coverage has the CARES Act offered Americans?

Mitchell Hartman Dec 28, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
HTML EMBED:
COPY
A nurse cares for a COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Dec. 4, 2020. Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

What kind of medical cost coverage has the CARES Act offered Americans?

Mitchell Hartman Dec 28, 2020
A nurse cares for a COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Dec. 4, 2020. Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

As part of the CARES Act, Congress included provisions designed to ease the financial burden of COVID 19-related medical costs on Americans, protecting some from catastrophic medical bills and covering testing and vaccinations.

“But we really don’t have legislation that shields people from the cost of COVID treatment,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

While some COVID-19 patients just get better at home, others require much more expensive care. And, said University of Minnesota epidemiologist Kumi Smith: “Even among COVID patients who get hospitalized the course of disease is wildly ranging.”

A standard hospital stay will cost around $13,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. A severe case involving the ICU or a ventilator can cost upwards of $90,000. For people who have health insurance, most of that should be covered, Pollitz said.

But with deductibles: “Even in an uncomplicated case, the average person might be facing $1,300 in out-of-pocket costs,” she added.

There is a government program to pay these bills for the uninsured but only if medical providers opt in.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.