Michael Flor may have more lives than a cat.
But it came at a price.
The 70-year-old Seattle, Washington resident was so close to death earlier this year from COVID-19 that a nurse held a phone to his ear while his family said their final goodbyes, The Seattle Times reported.
But as Flor was recuperating at home, the longest-hospitalized coronavirus patient — who was dubbed “the miracle child” — became the “million-dollar baby,” the report said.
He said his heart nearly failed a second time when he got the bill from his 62 day stay at Swedish Issaquah. The total on the 181-page bill came to $1,122,501.04.
“I opened it and said ‘holy [expletive]’ ” Flor told the newspaper.
Fortunately, Flor has medical insurance, including Medicare, and he won’t have to pay the vast majority of it, the report said.
Flor knew the bill would be huge.
In the first few days of hospitalization, his wife, Elisa Del Rosario, recalled him saying: “You gotta get me out of here, we can’t afford this,” the Times reported.
Intensive care unit was billed at $9,736 per day. Since he was in an isolation chamber for 42 days, the cost came to $408,912. He was on a ventilator for 29 days, billed at $2,835 daily for a total of $82,215. One quarter of the bill was the cost of prescription drugs, and the bill includes nearly 3,000 itemized charges, about 50 per day. And for the two days when Flor’s heart, kidneys and lungs were failing and he was close to death, the bill was nearly $100,000.
Doctors “were throwing everything at me they could think of,” Flor said.
The charges do not include two weeks of recuperating in a rehabilitation facility.
Still, the massive U.S. CARES Act, along with its economic stimulus measures, reserved more than $100 billion to help hospitals and insurance companies defray the costs of the pandemic. As a result, Flor probably won’t even have to pay his Medicare Advantage policy’s out-of-pocket charges, which could have amounted to $6,000.
Flor said he was surprised at his reaction to the ordeal.
“I feel guilty about surviving,” he told the newspaper. “There’s a sense of ‘why me?’ Why did I deserve all this? Looking at the incredible cost of it all definitely adds to that survivor’s guilt.”
The U.S. Cares Act also included sending stimulus checks to Americans — $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples and $500 per child. The payments came by way of direct deposits, paper checks and debit cards.