When Mary Lou Retton’s household introduced she was gravely sick with a uncommon type of pneumonia final fall, many individuals had been shocked to be taught the previous gymnast had no medical insurance.

The rationale was cash, Retton, 55, informed TODAY’s Hoda Kotb in an exclusive interview that aired Jan. 8.

She stated shopping for medical insurance as a single lady with a historical past of surgical procedures was too costly.

“When COVID hit and after my divorce and all my pre-existing (circumstances) — 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 stated.

“However who would even know that this was going to occur to me?”

Retton revealed in 2018 that she had break up from her husband of 27 years, according to People.

Many individuals assumed the retired gymnastics star had endorsement offers and different means to afford medical insurance, Kotb identified.

However Retton stated “life goes on and issues occur” — it’s been nearly 40 years since she gained an Olympic gold medal — and he or she financially couldn’t do it.

Gymnast Mary Lou Retton  (Focus On Sport / Getty Images)

Gymnast Mary Lou Retton (Focus On Sport / Getty Photos)

Greater than 27 million People, or about 8% of the inhabitants, didn’t have medical insurance in 2022, the newest yr for which statistics had been out there, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is really an enchancment over earlier years.

Nearly two-thirds, or 64%, of uninsured adults stated they did not have medical insurance as a result of the price of protection was too excessive, based on KFF.

Of People who’re insured, 54% get medical insurance via a job, 18% are coated by Medicaid, 18% have Medicare and 10% purchase it themselves, based on the U.S. Census Bureau.

Retton stated she’s “all set now” and has medical insurance.

After creating the uncommon type of pneumonia out of the blue final fall, she spent a month in a Texas hospital, a lot of it within the intensive care unit. She’d by no means had a lung challenge in her life, Retton stated.

The scenario was so dire at one level that docs had been contemplating placing Retton on life help and her 4 daughters stated goodbye to her.

Mary Lou Retton x-ray (TODAY)

Mary Lou Retton x-ray (TODAY)

Her daughters first announced her illness to the public by way of a fundraising web site on Oct. 10, revealing she was “combating for her life,” and appealed for assist with funds for the hospital invoice.

“If she pulls via, the very last thing we wish her to have to consider is paying off these payments or doing something like that,” Retton’s eldest daughter, Shayla Schrepfer, informed Hoda Kotb.

Nearly $460,000 was raised on the crowd-funding web site Spotfund. Retton was dwelling in Boerne, Texas, by Oct. 23.

The five-time Olympic medalist stated docs nonetheless don’t know what prompted the pneumonia, noting she examined damaging for COVID-19, the flu and RSV. She is utilizing a conveyable oxygen equipment as her lungs heal.

“I’m not nice but, and I do know it’s going to be a very lengthy highway. I don’t know the way lengthy I’ll indefinitely want the oxygen. However you haven’t any thought how blessed and the way grateful I used to be for this vacation season,” Retton stated.

“I’m so grateful to be right here.”

This text was initially printed on TODAY.com

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