Mary Lou Retton won39t answer questions about donations and health

Mary Lou Retton won't answer questions about donations and health care – USA TODAY

Olympic star Mary Lou Retton said in an NBC interview that she now has health insurance after her hospital stay. There was no answer when asked by USA TODAY Sports if donations would pay for it.

Over the past three months, 8,319 donors have donated nearly half a million dollars to Olympic star Mary Lou Retton – $459,324, to be exact – after her daughter announced on social media that Retton was “fighting for her life.” “I was suffering from a “very rare form of pneumonia” and was not insured.

Over the past three months, USA TODAY Sports has continued to be in contact with Retton, her daughter McKenna Kelley and two family friends through numerous text messages and phone calls, trying to get answers to questions that remained unanswered as of Monday afternoon.

On Monday, she was asked in multiple text messages and a voicemail whether she had no health insurance until recently, her financial status and why she refused to reveal where she was hospitalized more than two months after she was released from the hospital. or the name of her doctor(s), Retton, 55, declined to respond.

Retton's unwillingness to answer the most basic questions about her health care is under increasing scrutiny for one simple reason: the decision by Kelley and her three sisters to raise public donations for their mother on the crowdsourcing website Had they not done so, Retton's illness would likely have remained a private matter, never becoming public, and enticing so many strangers to send money.

Retton still refused to speak with USA TODAY Sports, but agreed to an interview with NBC's “Today Show” Monday morning. Appearing with an oxygen tube in her nose, she described a harrowing, month-long hospital stay, including a moment when “they were on the verge of being put on life support,” she said. But she was able to go home at the end of October, she said.

MORE: Mary Lou Retton received $459,324 in donations. She and her family do not want to say what the money will be used for.

NBC said Retton did not want to reveal the name of the hospital, consistent with the way she, her family and co-workers handled the matter to USA TODAY Sports.

When asked by NBC why she didn't have health insurance, Retton said, “When Covid hit and after my divorce (in 2018) and all my pre-existing conditions, I had over 30 orthopedic surgeries – I couldn't afford it.”

Then she exclaimed, “But who would have even thought this would happen to me?”

Regarding health insurance, she said, “I’m ready now,” and confirmed that she now has health insurance, “Yes, yes.”

USA TODAY Sports asked her Monday if donations from cover health insurance, but there was no answer.

When asked in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY Sports why her mother didn't have health insurance, Kelley, 26, said Retton couldn't get affordable health care due to pre-existing conditions, which she said included “over 30 orthopedic surgeries.” including four hip prostheses. She’s in chronic pain every day.”

Kelley said, “Due to her medical history and the amount of surgeries she has had to endure due to gymnastics and everyday life, it is unaffordable for her.”

When told that an insurance agent contacted by USA TODAY Sports had found two plans charging $545 and $680 a month that someone with her mother's medical history would qualify for, Kelley said Retton had once had health insurance , but “because she was unable to do so after working and giving speeches for two years due to the pandemic, she gave up her insurance.”

Retton “was close to getting health insurance again, but didn't, and then she got sick,” Kelley said.

In a text message to USA TODAY Sports Saturday, Kelley did not comment on how much of the nearly half-million dollars was accounted for, but said “any remaining funds” would go to a charity of her mother's choice. She offered no timetable or further information.