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Man responsibly goes to hospital after he suspects coronavirus infection — then gets slammed with $3K bill from insurance company

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Osmel Martinez Azcue took a work trip to China last month, but when he returned to Miami he started developing flu-like symptoms, making him wonder if he’d contracted coronavirus.

Taking what he felt was the responsible course of action, he went to Jackson Memorial Hospital to get himself tested. Azcue, who has a very limited insurance plan, knew that the cost of the procedure would come out of his pocket. As it turned out, he had the regular flu and not coronavirus. But as the Miami Herald reports, Azcue’s due diligence was costly. Two weeks later, his insurance company sent him a bill for $3,270.

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“In 2018, President Donald Trump’s administration rolled back Affordable Care Act regulations and allowed so-called ‘junk plans’ in the market,” writes the Herald’s Ben Conark. “Consumers mistakenly assume that the plans with lower monthly costs will be better than no insurance at all in case of a medical catastrophe, but often the plans aren’t very different from going without insurance altogether.”

Azcue’s insurance plan stipulates that he’s only responsible for $1,400 of the bill — as long as he can dig up three years of medical records to prove that the flu he contracted wasn’t brought on by a pre-existing medical condition.

“When someone has flu-like symptoms, you want them to to seek medical care,” Georgetown University professor Sabrina Corlette told the Herald. “If they have one of these junk plans and they know they might be on the hook for more than they can afford to seek that care, a lot of them just won’t, and that is a public health concern.”

Azcue said his ordeal is an example of how healthcare costs could actually exacerbate the spread of disease and virus outbreaks.

“How can they expect normal citizens to contribute to eliminating the potential risk of person-to-person spread if hospitals are waiting to charge us $3,270 for a simple blood test and a nasal swab?” he said.

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This Europe country is housing quarantined coronavirus patients in a five-star hotel

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An ambulance driver wearing a white protective gown enters a Barcelona hotel and announces the arrival of three new "customers" -- a trio of coronavirus patients discharged from hospital into luxury quarantine.

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UK Labour to unveil new leader to replace Jeremy Corbyn

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Britain's main opposition Labour party on Saturday unveils a new leader who will take the helm of a defeated and divided party in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

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Instead, the result will be put out in a press release mid-morning -- and candidates have been asked to pre-record their victory speeches.

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‘Trump fires people for telling the truth’: President blasted for ‘dead of night decision’ to fire intel watchdog

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President Donald Trump was harshly criticized on Friday for firing intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

House Intel Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senate Intel Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-VA) were among the lawmakers who took to Twitter to criticize Trump on his favorite social media platform.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's decision:

Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.

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