COVID-19 Exposes the Breaking Point in America’s Dysfunctional Healthcare System

COVID-19 Exposes the Breaking Point in America’s Dysfunctional Healthcare System

COVID-19 Exposes the Breaking Point in America’s Dysfunctional Healthcare System 2083 1041 Apostrophe Health

The coronavirus pandemic poses a financial threat to American families, one the legacy insurance industry designed and will benefit from.

Half of American households don’t have as much as $4,500 in their bank accounts. Which is why “most Americans are a bad stubbed toe away from financial ruin,” according to David Chase, co-founder of Health Rosetta.

Or, just one case of coronavirus. High deductibles, excessive copays and surprise billing can devastate a family financially, especially in the face of an unexpected illness.

The coronavirus pandemic (officially known as COVID-19) is exposing just how fundamentally broken the American healthcare system really is. Under the most expensive healthcare system in the world, a family with little discretionary funds would be hit hard by the $3,270 bill for coronavirus treatment a Miami man received last week.  

While the CDC is not billing for testing (that’s right, you won’t be charged for COVID-19 lab tests), related treatment expenses from hospital stays and medications won’t necessarily get the same free pass.

On March 11, President Trump said “leaders of [the] health insurance industry…have agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments and to prevent surprise medical billing.”

However, that same night, a spokesperson for the major insurance lobby America’s Health Insurance Plans’ made an important clarification to Politico. They will only waive co-pays “For testing. Not for treatment.” This rare sign of decency from traditional carriers won’t play out exactly as the president described. AHIP said even less in their public statement, and didn’t address cost at all.

The decades-long effect of outrageous billing schemes from these legacy insurance companies has dangerous effects, which includes avoidance of care when people need it most.

No one should avoid testing or treatment, for coronavirus or any other ailment or disease, because they fear the unknown and potential financial setback from medical bills.

This is the problem with America’s broken healthcare system


Most insured Americans are flying blind at each doctor, hospital or ER visit. There aren’t published rates, there’s not much clarity around who’s in network, and you’re at the mercy of the provider to run any lab or scan they see fit. It gets unnecessarily expensive very quickly. 

There’s enough panic around the outbreak without igniting fear over bankruptcy and financial ruin because someone in your family gets sick.  

Apostrophe’s direct-purchase model does away with the waste and helps self-insured employers control costs for better benefits for their team. We’re committed to:

  • Simplify the experience and billing process
  • Be transparent so members know what they’re spending and saving
  • Show our members love during the most routine or life-changing circumstances

This is how Apostrophe humanizes care for our members every day, especially now.


The CDC recommends avoiding crowds, limiting contact with those who are sick, and staying home as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also recommend calling your doctor if you’re developing symptoms. This is exactly what telemedicine and VPC were designed for.

Apostrophe members get direct access to quality physician care without entering infected environments, protecting themselves and everyone else.

Using our 24/7 telemed partner MeMD is especially beneficial for members in at-risk populations or with compromised immune systems. Avoid the waiting rooms altogether — they can assess symptoms, order lab work and call in prescriptions online or by phone.


Groups using our pharmacy benefits have the advantage of having medications delivered to their door. Skip the lines — and potential crowds — at the corner drugstore.


Our members can see any provider who’s willing to accept Apostrophe. There are no confusing network rules and no out-of-network penalties.


If our members are feeling uncertain about the coronavirus situation, or have questions about COVID-19 treatment costs, they can always contact our market-leading Member Care team. Member Care will:

  • Help to navigate a bill and avoid overpaying
  • Explain what is covered under their health plan
  • Make sure they maximize their virtual care benefits 

We’ve known for a long time that the state of healthcare in America is at a breaking point, and the COVID-19 pandemic may push it to the limits. 

Especially during a global pandemic, we’re committed to putting our members first. We’d like to see the entire industry make necessary moves to do the same. 

Current Apostrophe Health members, Call Member Care at the number on your card for coverage questions.
Current and prospective self-insured employers, please visit our COVID-19 page for more information.