CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – Statewide organizations are noticing COVID-19 positive people are avoiding hospitals due to cost.
The North Carolina Justice Center is now putting out a public service announcement that anyone who’s treated for COVID-19 or has been treated is covered under the federal government.
The recent American Rescue Plan allows providers to get reimbursed from the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program, instead of billing patients directly.
“It’s retroactive back to February 4, 2020. It also lasts up to a year after the public emergency has ended,” explained Rebecca Cerese, Health Engagement Coordinator with N.C. Justice Center.
Cerese said since the pandemic began, N.C. Justice Center has stayed proactive in educating North Carolinians, and this PSA is just another item added to the list.
She’s afraid some COVID-19 positive residents are fighting the virus on their own without knowing there’s resources available.
“It ends up making them sicker and sicker… They end up in the emergency rooms, which are the most expensive health care we have… and they’re much farther along in whatever illness they have.”
In Charlotte, Care Ring is also working to keep the low and uninsured serviced through their medical home. Executive Director Tchernavia Montgomery explained their non-profit has seen an increase in patients since the pandemic began, almost 2,000 more patients.
Out of all their patients, about 10 percent have contracted COVID-19 this year.
“There are disparities, especially among low-income populations and that’s who we serve,” Montgomery said.
Even though Care Ring doesn’t necessarily treat COVID-19 positive patients, they help manage other illnesses like diabetes and are striving to keep patients from unnecessary hospitalizations.
“Regardless of their immigration status, regardless of their employment status, race, ethnicity, zip code, we are here to provide support.”