Cleveland Clinic: COVID-19 patients don't have to pay for their medical care 'at this time'

We are tracking coronavirus-related medical bills
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 18:34:09-04

CLEVELAND — Good news: the Cleveland Clinic told 5 On Your Side Investigators it is not making patients pay for coronavirus-related medical care, at least for now. We have been tracking patients’ bills as they come in.

“How do you feel?” we asked Franklin Myles from Twinsburg

“I feel fantastic,” Myles said. That’s a new feeling for him because, you might remember, he was in the hospital for several days with COVID-19.

“Something came over me. I just couldn’t explain it,” said Myles.

Now, as he feels better, he’s getting bills for his medical care.

“I was grateful,” he told us. Grateful because some of the major costs for his hospitalization at Cleveland Clinic showed he owes nothing. “I figured I’d have a $15,000-$20,000 bill that I would be responsible for paying,” he said.

Myles has private insurance and after seeing the zeros on the balances, he said he called the Clinic’s billing department. “And what they told me is that they’re handling the COVID billing different,” Myles said.

Cleveland Clinic told us it’s “not billing patients for their financial responsibility for COVID-19-related services at this time.”

Myles, though, is still keeping an eye on his bills. “I’m not totally, completely comfortable that it’s all going to be taken care of,” said Myles. “So, I’m just kind of waiting.”

You might also remember D’Jeana Roddy. We told you about how the 19-year-old from Toledo was in the hospital and on a ventilator for 12 days. “To just get sick out of nowhere and then so severe… having so many things done,” said Roddy. “I was definitely happy and relieved.”

Relieved because she says she called the Buckeye Health Plan, her Medicaid health insurance, and she said they told her she doesn’t owe a dime.

“I’m pretty young so to have a bunch of hospital bills,” said Roddy. “It still would be hard on anyone no matter the age, but I still feel like it’d be extremely hard.”

Hard because, in addition to her sickness, her mom Danita died from COVID-19 at the same time D’Jeana was battling the same virus. “It’s just hard knowing that, like, a virus claimed one of your loved ones’ life,” she told us. “And I miss her a lot.”

An out-of-the-blue virus affected these people in different ways, but knowing we’re still early in the infection, both are cautiously optimistic about bills for care.

“I’m not sure if this is the end of the billing piece,” said Myles. “If I might see some updates or modifications to what I already have.”

As for the testing to see if you have the virus, the Clinic told us coronavirus tests range from “$125-$255 depending on the type of test administered.” The Clinic also said those are “often covered by insurance or the CARES Act.”

Here’s the Clinic’s response to our recent questions about billing:

“We encourage patients to contact us if they have questions about their bill. Our dedicated team of patient financial advocates are available to help patients navigate their insurance and resolve any issues, and discuss payment options.

As part of our commitment to helping our patients manage this pandemic, we are not billing them for their financial responsibility for COVID-19-related services at this time. We do not handle the ambulance charges as they are processed directly by the ambulance provider.

‘Differently’ may be referring to the waiving of financial responsibility for COVID-19-related services. This adjustment wouldn’t apply if the patient’s care isn’t COVID-19 related.

Regarding testing, coronavirus tests range of $125-220 depending on type of test administered. The patient’s financial responsibility for a test is either covered by their insurance plan or by the CARES Act. We aren’t performing coronavirus antibody testing, so don’t have that cost information.”