According to Bloomberg News, the cost for treating the late Mr. Duncan for nine days could be as much as 500 thousand dollars, that is half of a million dollars. The treatment according to the hospital is around 1,000 dollars per hour. This does not however, include the removal and destruction of contaminated medical waste associated with the care, which will run into the thousands of dollars as well.
Mr. Duncan did not have insurance and his family certainly is not in any position to pay any of the costs. According to the hospital, the amount will have to be essentially “written off” (Wayne, 2014).
How many times can any hospital afford to do this? Will hospitals however, really write off the cost of care associated with Ebola, or are they billing the government and are they also planning to pass the costs on to others that do have insurance?
This is all speculation of course, but logic tells us that hospitals cannot write off half of a million dollars even once, let alone several times if more patients require care due to an Ebola infection and that patient cannot pay. Of course, there is the question as to why it costs this much, but that is a debate for another time.
What happens to those that contract the virus and they have insurance, will the insurance pay, and how much will they pay. Questions that need to be asked and answered, because hospitals simply cannot shoulder this kind of cost, the average private citizen certainly cannot, and the American taxpayers cannot either.
Will hospitals screen for insurance before they screen for Ebola, some rumors to that effect with Mr. Duncan are already being floated out there. Rumors only of course, and there is no evidence to suggest it is true, but some have raised the issue. It all comes down to money, the bottom line for those “for profit” medical institutions.
Businesses should be allowed to make money, but the question is who will pay the bills for Ebola patients that cannot pay, and what affects it will have on your care when you go for a routine checkup or something more serious. Will Ebola have a long-term effect on medical care in general?
Will charities step up and pay, or will the government be forced to pay, because in some people’s mind the government is not doing nearly enough to stop anyone who may be infected from entering the country. The lawyers are already researching and lining up for their paydays. Some may very well make the case that the government is responsible, so how many 500,000-dollar medical bills will there be, and how many lawsuits because of an infection. Once again, this does not include the thousands of dollars spent for removal and destruction of the medical waste.
This could have a profound effect on your care. What if your hospital is treating an Ebola patient and it simply cannot shoulder the financial cost and simply closes its doors.
Who pays for the testing and care of those suspected of being infected and turn out not to be infected. There have been hundreds of these tests already across the country. The tests can take up to 48 hours, and during that time, the patient is treated as if they do have Ebola, so one has to assume it is 1,000 dollars per hour, until the tests come back negative.
Preppers Check Your Insurance Policies
The likelihood of you getting Ebola is extremely low, but what happens if you were in contact with someone suspected of having it. Tests will have to be run. Therefore, you may be quarantined in a hospital for several days and this could cost up to 24,000 dollars per day, so the question is, will your insurance pay. Ebola is likely to be considered catastrophic like cancer so you have to know what the provisions are in your insurance policy.
This all brings us back to preparedness, and proper planning. You cannot afford to be surprised, so you have to know what questions to ask, and then make sure you are getting the correct answers.
Gone are the days when a scrapped knee meant a visit to the local pediatrician to treat your child. Some things you will have to learn to do on your own. However, some things can only be performed by a medical professional, but you should do what you can now to reduce the number of visits to a doctor’s office or to the emergency room.
Wayne, A. (2014, October). Retrieved 2014, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-07/bill-for-ebola-adds-up-as-care-costs-1-000-an-hour.html