Dial Dalfred: Covering COVID-19 costs

Dial Dalfred

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – After being in a coma for 17 days, a Lafayette woman who survived COVID-19 has questions about who’s covering the cost of the astronomical medical bill.

“I just want to know who is supposed to pay for these bills. My understanding when President Trump was on TV, we weren’t going to be responsible for the bills”, said Charlotte Perrodin, who beat COVID-19.

Perrodin is one of thousands of COVID-19 survivors, but her story is unlike any other. She was rejected tested in the early stages of the pandemic because she didn’t have all the required symptoms to be tested.

“The next day I went to the urgent care center and I was treated for bronchitis”, she said.

She returned home but when her fever reached 103° she called her primary physician.
“So they swabbed me and it was going to take 5 to 7 days (for results). By that time I was already in ICU…where she would remain, in a coma, for the next 17 days.

When she woke up on Easter Sunday, she was grateful for life— but had no idea she had tallied up more than $1.2 million in treatment cost.

“I understood it was going to be a lot but when I got the $1.2 million it was just shocking!”

The good news is, Perrodin is insured; although her payment summary shows her health plan only paid $1,360.01– which covers her ambulance ride to the hospital.

The ambulance service costs about $1,300. Room and board at Lafayette General were $118,000, plus $513,000 for ancillary services (cardiac monitoring, ventilators, rehabilitation services, etcetera).

“The president has assured folks that they will not get surprise medical bills related to coronavirus. He has executed that by an executive order” said Senator Bill Cassidy when we asked him about covering the cost of care for COVID-19 patients.

The CARES Act, which provides massive financial relief for Americans amid the pandemic, was signed by the president March 27, and issued 175 billion dollars to hospitals and healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response; to help cover the costs of the anticipated influx of people being treated for COVID-19.

“So if she feels as if the hospital or insurance company are not doing what they need to do she can call my office”, the senator said.

We got some really good news from Mrs. Perrodin the day after we interviewed her, she spoke with the insurance company and learned she had been double-billed because the medical diagnosis codes need to be resubmitted. So instead of a 1.2 million dollar bill, it’ll be half of that.

We also received a statement from Lafayette General stating the hospital did not bill Mrs. Perrodin; nor would they. The hospital representative also told us Mrs. Perrodin’s bill has been paid.

If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community or there’s a story you’d like me to investigate, send me an email at DialDalfred@klfy.com.

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