“I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money," Danni Askini said of the sizable hospital bill.

By Maria Pasquini
March 23, 2020
Adobe Stock

After being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, one uninsured woman received a staggering bill for over $34,000.

In late February, Danni Askini, contacted an oncologist who had been treating her lymphoma, to report that she was experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath and a migraine, TIME reported.

Although all symptoms of the widespread virus, formally called COVID-19, her doctor thought she was likely having a bad reaction to some medication and sent her to a Boston emergency room, which in turn told her she likely had pneumonia, according to the outlet.

RELATED: What is a Dry Cough? Experts Explain the Coronavirus Symptom

After coming down with a fever and a nasty cough, Askini made two more trips to the emergency room and was eventually given a test, which confirmed she had been infected with the virus.

Days after receiving the test results, Askini got a bill from the hospital for $34,927.43.

“I was pretty sticker-shocked,” she told TIME. “I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money.”

RELATED: Is Diarrhea a Symptom of COVID-19? New Study Says Digestive Issues May Be Common With Coronavirus

Although legislation has been passed that will make coronavirus tests available for no cost, the relief bill does not currently address the total cost of treatment, which could include out-of-network care and testing unrelated to coronavirus, that individuals may incur.

Earlier this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that among people who have insurance through their employers, the average cost for treatment could range from $9,763-$20,292 and that out-of-pocket costs could be around $1,300.

Treatment is still a gigantic problem,” Cheryl Fish-Parcham, a director of consumer advocacy group Families USA, recently told The New York Times.

RELATED: 6 Over-the-Counter Medicines to Treat Mild Coronavirus Symptoms, According to Medical Experts

As concerns over testing has grown, several private insurance companies have also said that they will waive co-pays for testing and those on Medicare or Medicaid will also get tested for free. During the congressional hearings on Thursday, House Democrats pushed CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield to promise free testing to all Americans, which he agreed to after pressure from California Rep. Katie Porter.

MIKHAIL TERESHCHENKOTASS VIA GETTY

However, given the country’s shortage of testing kits, getting tested for the coronavirus is often not a simple task for Americans.

RELATED: Coronavirus Shows Signs of Slowing in China

Though President Donald Trump has previously said that any American who “needs a test gets a test,” that has not yet been the case. As of Thursday, the CDC has tested around 4,500 people, and outside laboratories have tested an additional 40,000.

The lack of available testing kits spurs from a manufacturing problem with the first batch of kits, made by the CDC. Correcting that error delayed production, and the CDC has only recently started sending the new versions out to states.

Additionally, the CDC restricted private health companies and academic institutions from creating their own kits without approval from the Food and Drug Administration until Feb. 29.

RELATED: Immunosuppressants and Coronavirus: What to Know, and When You Should Talk to Your Doctor

On Thursday, a popular home testing company Everlywell announced that they will have an at-home coronavirus test available for consumers by Monday, March 23 — making them the first private company to distribute testing directly to consumers.

Once consumers are approved for the test, they can purchase it for $135 on Everlywell’s website. The company said that this will be “no profit to Everlywell, and will be covered by participating HSA and FSA providers.”

“Everlywell has reached out to government officials and public health departments to see if the test can be made available for free,” they said in a statement.

RELATED: ARDS is a Common Cause of Death in Critically Ill Coronavirus Patients—Here's Why

The Food and Drug Administration is also testing a drug previously used to treat malaria as a possible treatment for the widespread respiratory illness.

As of Friday morning, there are at least 12,392 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 195 people have died of COVID-19-related illnesses.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

This article originally appeared on People.com

Advertisement