An elderly man had his coronavirus vaccine appointment canceled due to a small medical debt.Michael Rogan, 72, was set to receive his first dose of
An elderly man had his coronavirus vaccine appointment canceled due to a small medical debt.
Michael Rogan, 72, was set to receive his first dose of the vaccine last week at the Boulder Medical Center, Colorado, after weeks of trying to schedule an appointment.
The Longmont man said his relief quickly turned to disappointment after he received a phone call from the center, cancelling the appointment because they found he had a $243.85 outstanding bill.
The COVID vaccines are supposed to be free for all after the government agreed to pick up the tab, investing more than $10billion, to tackle the pandemic. Medical providers are not allowed to charge a copay, out of pocket expenses, surprise billing or balance billing to patients, whether they have insurance or not.
‘I never expected to have to pay up and be square before I could get the vaccine,’ Rogan told 9NEWS.
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Michael Rogan, 72, had his vaccine appointment canceled over unpaid medical debt
His partner, Liz Kitzerow, called out the Boulder Medical Center for being ‘totally unethical’
He said he had been unable to pay the outstanding debt because he and his partner are not currently working.
It wasn’t disclosed what the bill was for, but Rogan is a cancer patient.
Rogan had also received an email from Boulder Medical Center, informing him he couldn’t make any other vaccine appointments until the debt was paid.
‘I thought it was totally unethical,’ said Liz Kitzerow, Rogan’s partner. ‘It was my understanding that everything was free, and nothing standing in the way for Americans to get this vaccine.’
‘As it stands, there should be no copay, no out-of-pocket that anybody faces to receive the vaccine,’ said Adam Fox, Deputy Director of Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
Pictured: The Boulder Medical Center, where Rogan was set to receive his first vaccine
An email 9NEWS obtained shows the Boulder Medical Center saying the bill needs to be ‘paid before you can schedule a vaccine appointment’
Rogan (right) eventually received an apology and an appointment for Friday
After 9NEWS contacted the health center on Thursday, the CEO called Rogan to apologize and help schedule an appointment for the following day.
Rogan has now received his first vaccine dose.
Medical centers and hospitals may choose to charge fees related to administration and facility use when giving patients the vaccine.
While Rogan’s situation is unique, vaccine appointment cancellations are not.
Nationwide, vaccine appointments have been canceled, primarily due to either a shortage in supply or because of the winter weather that has gripped much of the country in recent days and weeks.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports there have been 405,289 cases of COVID-19 in the state.
The United States recently surpassed 27 million total coronavirus cases and 463,000 deaths
Of those cases, 5,454 people have died of the virus in Colorado, which has seen an 0.03 percent decrease in the 7-day positivity rate.
Vaccine rollout in Colorado is well underway to fight against the coronavirus scourge.
Colorado is currently in its 1A and 1B phase of their vaccine administration plan.
So far, 539,590 people have received just the first dose of the vaccine, while 207,562 people have received both of their vaccine doses.
The vaccine numbers come as the White House continues to boost their nationwide vaccine plan, with hopes of administering 100 million shots in 100 days.
The United States has surpassed 27 million coronavirus infections and 463,000 deaths from COVID-19.