Mar 12, 2020 - Health

Hospital system holds off on billing patients for coronavirus care

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee. Photo: Advocate Aurora Health

Advocate Aurora Health, a 28-hospital system spanning Illinois and Wisconsin, said Thursday that it is temporarily "refraining from sending patient bills related to coronavirus as we continue to work with regulatory and industry officials to navigate this developing situation."

Why it matters: A spokesperson for Advocate Aurora Health said this is not a commitment to waive fees indefinitely and the system may send out bills later, but it's still among the first hospital systems to hit pause on any coronavirus billing. Experts have been worried that the potential of receiving costly medical bills could discourage people from seeking care even as the outbreak worsens.

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Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.

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