With the coronavirus pandemic now a global crisis, many of those who think they cannot afford to be sick are not confident they could get treated for COVID-19 without going into debt. While getting tested for the novel coronavirus is free, patients could still be on the hook for other medical expenses related to screening and treatment.

In the U.S., nearly half of insured Americans are not confident they could deal with the costs associated with coronavirus treatment. As more insured and underinsured citizens refuse to go to the hospital to get tested for the virus despite their symptoms, more people will continue to spread the virus without being identified. As a result, the novel coronavirus will continue to ripple across the globe.

Given the U.S.’s patchwork healthcare system, the costs related to getting treated for COVID-19 remain unclear. Generally speaking, however, the cost of getting tested for the disease depends on which lab runs the test and what health insurance the patient has.

If the test is conducted by the CDC, the state, or city public health laboratory, it is free. However, those run at private labs are not free, so they could bill their patients’ health insurers. These health insurers then bill the patients for the entire cost of the test.

Other costs related to coronavirus treatment include the cost of a visit to the emergency department, where blood tests and flu testing are conducted. The cost of these medical services depends on the insurance of the patient, but those who are uninsured are billed for the full amount of the tests.

Medical costs related to coronavirus treatment have not been set yet, but stories making the rounds on social media lately suggest that patients could rack up thousands of dollars in medical costs after receiving treatment or after being released from a mandatory quarantine.

One story that circulated recently was that of a man from Miami who got tested for coronavirus after a work trip to China. He racked up an astounding $3,270 in hospital charges following his discharge. A man from Pennsylvania also became viral last week after setting up a GoFundMe page to help him pay for his $3,918 in surprise bills. A debate coach from Kansas who traveled to Shanghai for a tournament was also tested for the virus and received a $983 bill weeks later.

The COVID-19 survivor said the nurse who attended to him had simply taken a nose swab and told him they would send the sample to the CDC, which would cover the cost of testing. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  “My first reaction was to laugh in disbelief,” he said. “I wasn’t entirely surprised because I cannot think of a single encounter with the American health care system that didn’t have a similar outcome,” he added.

Last week, Donald Trump signed a bill providing $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus pandemic. While recent legislative efforts may help offset the costs of some of COVID-19 patients’ medical expenses, there is no assurance that getting treated for the virus will come cheap.

According to National Patient Advocate Foundation spokeswoman Caitlin Donovan, one of the best ways to keep the costs down for the coronavirus test is to get checked out by a doctor first before going straight to the emergency room. Most insurers are known to reject claims for emergency department visits they deem frivolous, so going straight to the ER without consulting a doctor first means running the risk of one’s insurer refusing to cover the ER visit.

Coronavirus Covid-19 USA, New York A traveler wears a medical mask at Grand Central station on March 5, 2020 in New York City. Six people have been infected with the COVID-19 virus in New York state, all linked to a 50-year-old lawyer who lives in Westchester County and works in Manhattan. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images