February 28, 2024

When Mary Lou Retton’s household introduced in October she was hospitalized and gravely in poor health with a uncommon type of pneumonia, many followers had been dismayed to be taught that the 1984 Olympics champion, who supposedly earned tens of millions from endorsement offers through the years, had no medical insurance.

Throughout an interview on the “At this time” present Monday, Retton, 55, revealed that she couldn’t afford insurance coverage earlier than she was hospitalized. The retired gold-medal gymnast defined that it was just too costly for her to purchase insurance coverage as a newly single girl with a historical past of surgical procedures.

“When COVID hit and after my divorce and all my pre-existing (situations) — I imply, I’ve had over 30 operations of orthopedic stuff — I couldn’t afford it… That’s the underside line: I couldn’t afford it,” Retton instructed “At this time” host Hoda Kotb.

“However who would even know that this was going to occur to me?” mentioned Retton, who additionally defined that she is now “all set” with insurance coverage.

Due to her lack of protection when she was checked into an unnamed Houston hospital, Shayla Schrepfer, the oldest of Retton’s 4 daughters, mentioned the household needed to begin a crowdfunding marketing campaign to assist cowl the invoice for her remedy. Over the subsequent few weeks, the Spotfund marketing campaign raised lots of of hundreds of {dollars} for Retton, a star medalist on the 1984 Olympics. As of Monday, the marketing campaign had raised a complete of $459,000.

Retton’s hospital invoice most likely was huge. She revealed Monday that she spent a month within the hospital, a lot of that point within the intensive-care unit. At one level, she mentioned, her state of affairs grew to become so dire that medical doctors thought-about placing her on life help and her 4 daughters mentioned goodbye to her.

Amongst individuals on social media, the concept Retton’s household wanted to ask strangers to pay for what was anticipated to be an infinite hospital invoice incited a variety of questions and reactions in October. On the prime of the record: Why didn’t Retton have medical insurance? And, what sort of nation is the US if even a legendary sports activities determine like Retton — as soon as dubbed “America’s sweetheart” — can’t pay for an emergency hospital keep?

When Retton’s daughters refused to touch upon their mom’s lack of insurance coverage, “out of respect for her and her privateness,” individuals on-line had been left to take a position on whether or not the retired athlete selected to forego medical insurance, or if she someway misplaced protection or wasn’t capable of receive protection.