“After returning to Miami last month from a work trip in China, Osmel Martinez Azcue found himself in a frightening position: he was developing flu-like symptoms, just as coronavirus was ravaging the country he had visited,” Ben Conarck writes for The Miami Herald. “Under normal circumstances, Azcue said he would have gone to CVS for over-the-counter medicine and fought the flu on his own, but this time was different. As health officials stressed preparedness and vigilance for the respiratory illness, Azcue felt it was his responsibility to his family and his community to get tested for novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room. Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he’d need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first. ‘This will be out of my pocket,’ Azcue, who has a very limited insurance plan, recalled saying. ‘Let’s start with the blood test, and if I test positive, just discharge me.’ Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened. He had the flu, not the deadly virus that has infected tens of thousands of people, mostly in China, and killed at least 2,239 as of Friday’s update by the World Health Organization. But two weeks later, Azcue got unwelcome news in the form of a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270.” Ben Conarck, “Novel coronavirus test for Miami man leads to $3,275 bill,” The Miami Herald.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.