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$1 million COVID bill has Florida man facing financial uncertainty

Others face similar fate

(CMR) A Plantation, Florida couple are facing a US$1 million hospital bill after the husband, John Place spent 45 days in the hospital and 20 days on a ventilator fighting for his life. Now fearful of possible financial bankruptcy he is raising the alarm about the cost of fighting a COVID-19 infection.

Last month Place celebrated leaving the hospital after six weeks on the brink of death with a tearful family reunion and wearing an “I'm Alive” t-shirt. His elation was short-lived has now turned into desperation as he tries to figure out how he will pay his outstanding medical bills. In mid-July has wife, Michelle Zymet, made a public plea for young people to take the virus more serious after her 21-year-old son got the virus from a friend's house and infected his entire family. Place had it the worse as the virus took him on the brink of death and he spent 45 days in the hospital with almost half of that was on a ventilator.

He is still not fully recovered.

The couple has not worked since the beginning of March and is faced with ongoing physical and occupational therapy treatments for Place – which will add more bills to his already hefty $1 million medical bills. The couple is in the events industry, which has taken a hit since the COVID-19 pandemic; they were already struggling because of job losses but remain highly concerned about what the future holds.

His wife said they have always paid their bills on time and have great credit but now they fear financial ruin. Even with insurance, he was left with $712,00 for “miscellaneous” and bills from doctors. He shared that he will try negotiating with the hospital and his insurance company.

Shockingly, Place is not the only COVID survivor with a million-dollar bill. 70-year-old Michael Flor of Seattle was hit with a 181-page $1.1 million bill after spending 62 days hospitalized at the Swedish Medical Centre in Issaquah, Washington. It contained over 3,000 itemized charges and his ICU room ran about $9,700 per day. He is hoping that his Medicare and Medicare Advantage through Kaiser Permanente coverage will cover most of the bill.

Salvatore Mazzara, 48, spent 44 days at Mount Sinai in New York with 23 of those in intensive care. He was left with a $1.9 million bill according to the Wall Street Journal. He was a severe case also that spent six weeks in the hospital and suffered from lung issues and kidney failure among other things. It's said that he was visited by 350 physicians, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, priests and others whilst in the hospital. On average a person stay in ICU 2-3 days but the average for COVID patients is 10.

Congress passed over $175 billion in emergency taxpayer funding for hospitals and health-care providers to cover people with no insurance. Despite there the number of complaints being raised about high COVID-19 medical bills is on the increase.

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