Months after receiving a rapid test for COVID-19, Texas resident Jaden Janak received a shocking surprise in the mail.
Janak had taken the test after he had been exposed to the virus shortly after his grandmother had died of the disease last year, according to CBS News.
Under the impression that the test would be free, Janak went on with his life.
It was only several months later that he was disabused of this notion.
He received two bills for the test amounting to a hefty $4,000.
“I felt angry. I felt deceived,” Janak told CBS News.
“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?”
The first bill Janak received was $2,700 for “emergency room and label fees.” The second he received as a doctor’s bill for roughly $1,300, according to CBS News.
Janak said his insurance provider, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, told him that all of the costs would be covered.
Eventually, the provider did send a check to him that he later used to pay the hospital where he had received the test — Tulsa ER & Hospital in Oklahoma.
However, Janak said, a second check never arrived.
BlueCross BlueShield of Texas later said the check had bounced back because he moved.
As a result, Janak received collection calls for the next year as he fought against having to pay the hospital bill out of pocket.
This isn’t the first report of this kind of thing coming out of Tulsa ER & Hospital.
Tulsa World reported last year that the hospital was one of several under congressional investigation over the prices they charged for COVID-19 tests.
“The committee has been informed of troubling instances in which providers are charging up to $6,000 for one COVID-19 test,” Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey wrote regarding the investigation.
“In a number of instances identified to the committee, providers are charging prices for diagnostic tests to detect COVID-19 that range from $300 to $6,000,” Pallone said.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires health insurance providers to “provide benefits for some items and services related to COVID-19 testing without any cost-sharing requirements,” Tusla World reported.
And yet patients like Janak have received these surprise bills in the mail.
It’s fine and dandy to go out and make a profit, but it should be done in an ethical and legal way.
Hopefully, any money-grabbing health care providers that violated the law will be held to account.
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