72-year-old cancer survivor has vaccine appointment canceled over $244 medical debt

February 7, 2021
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The distribution of vaccines has been a bit bumpy, to say the least, but one man experienced something that could have changed his life.

Michael Rogan, a Longmont, Colorado resident, said his scheduled appointment to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was canceled because he owed $244 in medical debt.

The 72-year-old cancer patient told Newsweek that his appointment was confirmed with Boulder Medical Center. However, he was told by “someone else in the organization” that his debt would have to be paid off before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I never expected to have to pay up and be square before I could get the vaccine,” Rogan said. “I thought by my being 72 and a cancer patient that I would qualify and it would be no problem.”

Rogan shared that his balance came out to $243.85. The medical facility said in an email that the debt needed to be paid “before you can schedule a vaccine appointment.”

“I know I owe them money,” Rogan said, “but I don’t think it should be tied to this.”
Detailed guidance on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment website says vaccine providers “will not be allowed to turn away an individual because of their inability to pay or current medical coverage status.”

Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado, made an official statement about Rogan’s incident.

“The Governor had been clear that there should be no barrier to receiving the vaccine,” the statement said. “We hope this is just a minor misstep and the person is invited back to get their vaccine right away.”

Rogan said that Boulder Medical Center rescheduled his vaccination appointment. As for the medical debt, the facility told Rogan that the company would work with him on addressing his debt.

Newsweek reached out for comment but hasn’t received a statement from Boulder Medical Center.

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