First They Faced the Virus. Now Come the Medical Bills.https://www.yahoo.com/news/first-faced-virus-now-come-120944607.html
Saw this article today. From the wording/descriptions in the article, it's not clear to me whether health providers can legally claim part of the estate of a deceased person to cover COVID bills. There are examples of providers going after them to be sure. But, it doesn't seem clear whether this is legal and/or usually successful. Here is one example from the article:
Seems like an absolute nightmare scenario. Your loved one gets COVID. He/she racks up six or seven figures of bills and passes away. You, the surviving relative, get stuck with their debt.Rebecca Gale, 64, lost her husband of 25 years, Michael, to Coronavirus last summer. Their insurance fully covered most of the “big stack” of medical bills that she received after his death. But it paid only a small portion of the $50,009 air ambulance bill for his transport between hospitals when his condition was deteriorating.
“I cry every day; this is just another thing that breaks my heart, that on top of losing my husband I have to deal with this,” Gale said.
The family’s health insurance plan limits its coverage of air ambulances to $10,000, and the air ambulance company spent months pursuing an additional $40,009 from her husband's estate. Rebecca Gale retired last year, from a job at an Ohio automotive factory stamping car parts, anticipating she would get to spend more time with her husband. After he died and the bills started to show up, she considered looking for a part-time job to help pay the charges.
Health care companies have discretion over what to do about the debts of deceased patients, sometimes pursuing their estates for reimbursement.
The air ambulance company, PHI Medical, declined to comment on Michael Gale’s bill but said in a statement that it “followed the regulatory requirements” for billing Coronavirus patients. It did cancel the charges, however, after The Times inquired about the bill.