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What COVID really costs.

Last week Fair Health released an analysis of charges and payments for COVID-related medical care. Here are the key findings based on data from January through May.

  • Median estimated allowed payment for hospital care was $24,012 for people 51-60 years old
  • HOWEVER – costs varied significantly around the country, especially in the western US
  • 30% of people diagnosed with COVID19 were 51-60
  • However, the average age appears to be dropping by about 15 years
  • 54% of those diagnosed were male, 46% female
  • About 6% of diagnoses were made via telehealth
  • Patients’ past medical conditions weigh heavily on outcomes; the most common comorbidity involved kidney disease.

What does this mean for you?

  1. The median cost of hospital care for COVID patients isn’t that much.
  2. Patients with significant comorbidities will suffer more, require more treatment, and thus incur more costs.
  3. Another study found almost all patients hospitalized for COVID had comorbidities.
  4. While “only” one in 20 diagnoses were made via a telehealth visit, it is highly likely that percentage will (or already has) increase(d).
  5. Remember – this is based on data through the end of May; you can be sure things have evolved since then. For example, a best guess is 10-20% of those diagnosed with COVID end up hospitalized – but that is a guess, and does not account for undiagnosed cases (which may be several times higher than those diagnosed).


Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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