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Covid-19 hospitalizations in unvaccinated people cost the U.S. health care system $ 2.3 billion in June and July alone, a figure that is likely to be an understatement, according to published Kaiser Family Foundation analysis Friday.
KFF looked at various sources, including CMS data and private claims analysis, to find that the average cost of a Covid-19 hospitalization was around $ 20,000.
They used data from the United States Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find the number of preventable hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the United States during the months of June, 37,000 preventable hospitalizations and in July, 76,000 preventable hospitalizations.
“If each of these avoidable hospitalizations cost about $ 20,000 on average, that would mean that these largely avoidable hospitalizations have already cost the US health care system billions of dollars since early June,” the analysis said.
For this estimate, they looked at those who were hospitalized primarily due to Covid-19 and adjusted that number to reflect the fact that even if unvaccinated adults received the vaccine, it would not prevent 100% of hospitalizations. Then, they multiplied the number of preventable hospitalizations by the cost of each hospitalization, using a typical cost of $ 20,000.
“Based on our estimates, described below, we find that preventable Covid-19 cost the US health system $ 2.3 billion in June and July 2021,” the analysis says.
However, the analysis noted that “this rough figure is likely an underestimate of the financial burden on the healthcare system of treating Covid-19 in unvaccinated adults.” KFF gives a few reasons for this, including that cases, hospitalizations and deaths continued to rise in August, costs for outpatient treatment were not included in the analysis, and costs for the spread of the unvaccinated virus. those who took protective measures were also not included. themselves.
The cost of treating the unvaccinated is borne not only by patients but also by society at large, according to KFF, including taxpayer-funded public programs and private insurance premiums.
According to the analysis, patients pay only a small portion of the hospital costs directly. Insurers are also prohibited from charging higher premiums to unvaccinated people by the Affordable Care Act and other laws, although employers can impose higher costs through wellness programs.
Private insurers have also started to restore cost sharing for Covid-19 hospitalizations, according to KFF, and adults can largely avoid these costs, as well as serious illness, by getting the vaccine, which is free.