As I write this on the evening of Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the United States stands at the brink of an unprecedented national health pandemic due to COVID-19, a.k.a. Coronavirus. I think it is wise at this time to prepare as much as possible for this quickly unfolding event, and preparation should include planning for the possibility of you and/or your family becoming very sick with severe symptoms, to the point of needing to visit an emergency room (ER).
Right now, before the virus strikes, take as many precautions as possible to avoid becoming infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers suggestions for preventing the illness here.
If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, the CDC offers suggestions for what to do when you are sick here. You should also be aware that Rob Redfield, Director of the CDC, has committed to free COVID-19 tests regardless of insurance coverage. The law that requires free testing is 42CFR71.30.
Experts are cautioning that up to half of the US population may contract this virus, 20% of infected may have severe symptoms, and between 1% to 3.4% of infected people will die from it or it’s complications. COVID-19 has not killed very many people in the US at this point, but COVID-19 is extremely contagious, its mortality rate is at least 10 times more deadly than the common flu, and there are no vaccines or particularly effective treatments. Please take it seriously.
Most health care professionals genuinely want to help their patients, For this virus in particular, they are literally risking their own lives to do so. I commend them for their efforts. I do not want to detract from their good deeds, but as described elsewhere in this website, certain ERs unscrupulously take advantage of their patients by over-billing and double-billing. In my experience, UCHealth in Colorado is one such unscrupulous business operating many hospital and standalone ERs.
If you must go to an ER, and you have the time and ability to make a conscious rational choice, I implore you to avoid UCHealth ERs if at all possible. They have provided poor service, over-billed, and double-billed me on multiple occasions, as well as many other people who have contacted our website.
If you must go to a UCHealth ER, please protect yourself, both physically and financially. Assume that they will try to take advantage of you. Don’t make it easy for them, be an informed consumer and patient. You can use suggestions from our Survival Guide while at the ER.
We are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst!