Charneseya Moye, a corrections officer from Raleigh, North Carolina gave birth to a son on Jan. 27. She was hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during her pregnancy, and soon contracted the virus on April 29. The 25-year-old mother of three said she was hospitalized from May 3 until May 20.
Moye said she was held at UNC REX Hospital in Raleigh, where she was intubated for 10 days and developed a blood clot in her left lung. She is currently on blood thinners and receiving physical and occupational therapy.
During the pregnancy, Moye had been on medical leave to remove her gallbladder. Her insurance coverage was dropped in February because she was unable to pay the premium fee, Moye told Fox News, adding that two months later, she contracted COVID-19 while on maternity leave.
“There wasn’t much research on [the vaccine], then when I did have my baby I was given time to heal,” she explained. “Then my milk supply dropped and I said, ‘OK I’ll get it now.’”
Moye said she was ready to receive the vaccine though began experiencing shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and body aches. Her husband, Shawn Parker, tested positive for the virus days prior to her COVID-19 diagnosis. Moye said her husband recovered in a little over a week, and her children did not get sick.
Moye said she was discharged from UNC REX and requested an itemized bill from the hospital. “COVID wasn’t covered,” she said.
Moye recalled her reaction to seeing the $ 163,000 dollar amount. “I think my mouth dropped and I didn’t say anything. I was like, ‘Oh my god. What am I supposed to do now?’” she said. “You have some of your college debt already and [I thought], ‘I’m never going to get out of this hole that I’m in.’”
“The next move was, I really [needed] to get back to work.”
Now, Moye is urging people to receive the vaccine.
“Even if you are vaccinated keep your mask on around others,” Moye told Fox News. “Just get the vaccine…if you already had [COVID-19], don’t think you can’t catch it again because you can.”
Her story comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday advised pregnant women to receive COVID-19 vaccine after a new study indicated no heightened risk of miscarriage among women who received the shot during early pregnancy.
In the meantime, Moye is left recovering from her battle against COVID-19.
“Getting up, walking, going to the bathroom, were a challenge and [I] needed assistance,” Moye said. “Your newborn is crying and you can’t pick him up…having the support of my mom and husband was what I needed.”
Moye said she will soon receive the vaccine and is hoping others to do the same.
Moye shared a copy of her bill with Fox News. One medication listed totaled more than $ 18,000.
UNC Health told Fox News it cannot comment on situations of individual patients due to confidentiality concerns.
“However, we can share that no patient at UNC Health facilities is ever turned away due to an inability to pay,” a spokesperson said. “Further, we maintain a number of programs to provide financial assistance to patients in need.”
“Even before COVID, UNC Health had put into place a number of policies and programs to support and assist our most financially vulnerable patients including a generous charity care policy and dedicated financial assistance resources to help patients identify and apply for financial support programs,” the spokesperson added. “UNC Health (including UNC Rex) participates in a Federally Funded program that assists uninsured patients with COVID-related services.”
UNC Health lists information on its “Financial Assistance Program” on its website to helps patients with medical costs. “The program is available to North Carolina residents with a household income at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Guideline for your family size,” the site reads.
Preliminary: New CDC study found no increased risk of miscarriage after #COVID19 vaccination during early pregnancy. These findings can help inform discussions about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy between pregnant people & healthcare providers: https://t.co/pBVlI6STf8 pic.twitter.com/kruX8OJvyl
— CDC (@CDCgov) August 11, 2021
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also offers COVID-19 related, financial guidance on its website.
President Biden announced in July that Americans dealing with so-called “long COVID,” or long-lasting health issues due to the virus, would have access to disability protections under federal law.
Moye isn’t the first COVID-19 survivor who received a hefty medical bill.
In June 2020, a 70-year-old man who beat the virus was reportedly issued a bill totaling $ 1.1 million following a 62-day stay.
On Aug. 5, a Las Vegas-resident told FOX 5 affiliate KVVU that he was charged for his COVID-19 hospital stay in multiple bills. One bill totaled $ 77,000, he told the station.
That man, and several others including Moye, having been looking to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to help with expenses.
Moye said she, her husband and kids are currently living with extended family so she can save money.
“I will find a way to get it taken care of,” Moye said. “This bill was to save my life which I’m trying to be grateful for. I wish it was cheaper, other than that, everything that was given to me was for my well-being and I needed it all.”
Moye said her nurses at UNC have inspired her to go for a new career in the medical field.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.