The financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic is starting to emerge for Americans, with many facing large bills for treatment they received because of Covid.
Federal law in the United States has ensured that Covid-19 tests and vaccines are free. However this financial protection does not cover treatment for the virus.
CNN reports the struggle that some Americans are facing now that the virus is starting to recede in the country. The news channel tells the story of Irena Schulz, who was left with pain in her ears and hearing loss after her battle with Covid-19. Her treatment left her with nearly $10,000 of credit card debt from medical bills.
Some politicians in the country are trying to fix the problem. Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota has a piece of legislation — the Covid-19 Treatment Coverage Act — that has been awaiting review by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions since August 2020.
It’s still caught in the legislative gridlock of government.
Schulz told CNN that her family’s finances and emergency funds have been depleted due to her serious coronavirus infection. She says that the virus left her suffering from chronic exhaustion and a weakened immune system, but says she hasn’t seen a doctor in a year, as she can’t afford it.
For more than six months now, Schulz says that her insurance company have been refusing to cover 60% of the cost of her $5,400 hearing aids. She says that she also thought that her trip to emergency care and other bills would be covered by her husband’s medical insurance. However that insurance company opted not to waive Covid-19 treatment fees, leaving her responsible for the payments.
“We need a healthcare system that actually works for us,” Schulz said. “We should not have to worry about whether we can afford to go to the doctor, or whether we’re going to be able to afford the procedure or the treatments or the drugs.”