Costs of COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Treatment
Most insurers didn’t bill patients for COVID-19 hospitalization during 2020, but many abandoned this policy in early 2021. This study aimed to estimate how much this might cost patients. To do this, we examined data from approximately 4,000 privately insured and Medicare Advantage patients hospitalized for COVID-19 between March and September 2020. Based on these data, we estimate that privately insured patients could pay an average of $3800 if their insurer doesn’t waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 hospitalizations, compared with $1,500 for patients with a Medicare Advantage plan. We also found that even though most patients did not have to pay for the hospital portion of the bill, implying that their insurer waived these costs, patients frequently received bills for services billed by ambulance companies or by clinicians, for example the charge for seeing a patient in the hospital. This suggests that insurers may have only covered certain aspects of COVID-19 hospitalization care.