WASHINGTON (AFP) – A 70-year-old American man who nearly died of COVID-19 has been billed a heart-stopping USD1.1 million for his hospital expenses, the Seattle Times reported Saturday.
Michael Flor was admitted to a hospital in the northwestern city on March 4, and stayed for 62 days – at one point coming so close to death that nurses held up the phone so his wife and children could say goodbye.
But he recovered and was discharged on May 5 to the cheers of nursing staff – only to receive a 181-page bill totalling USD1,122,501.04, he told the newspaper.
That includes: USD9,736 per day for the intensive care room (ICU), nearly USD409,000 for its transformation into a sterile room for 42 days, USD82,000 for the use of a ventilator for 29 days, and nearly USD100,000 for two days when his prognosis was life-threatening.
Flor is covered by Medicare, a government insurance programme for the elderly, and should not have to take out his wallet, according to the Times.
But in a country where health care is among the most expensive in the world – and the idea of socialising it remains hugely controversial – he said he feels “guilty” knowing that taxpayers will bear much of the cost.
“It was a million bucks to save my life, and of course I’d say that’s money well-spent… But I also know I might be the only one saying that,” the Times quoted him