What is the average cost of a COVID hospitalization?

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Requirement: “The average hospital stay for a COVID-19 case costs around $ 17,064. The vaccine is free. – United States Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

PolitiFact Rating: Mostly True. It is difficult to determine an average cost for a hospital stay for COVID-19. Many individual factors can cause estimates to vary considerably. But Jayapal’s figure is consistent with several credible estimates, and at its biggest point, the vaccine is much cheaper.

Discussion

The cost of COVID-19 care can vary widely depending on a person’s age, location, length of hospital stay, hospital receiving care, severity of illness. and comorbidities. Whether someone doesn’t have insurance, commercial health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare also plays a role.

“It is difficult to determine an average because for all those who have been on a ventilator for weeks, costing millions, there are also people who walk in and out (of) the hospital within a day or two once they are over. ‘they have stabilized,’ said Niall Brennan, president and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit that compiles claims data and offers research on the costs and utilization of care. health.

As a backup for Jayapal’s claim, his office sent us an Aug. 26 report from ABC Action News in Tampa. The report said: “No fixed amount was found as a solid average cost. But the numbers hover between $ 15,000 and $ 25,000 or more.

The news station cited FAIR Health, a non-profit organization focused on health costs and health insurance transparency, as the source. FAIR Health analyzed national data from January to May 2020, near the start and first peak of the pandemic, to assess the costs of hospitalizing a COVID-19 patient.

FAIR Health has identified the median – the midpoint – for two different measures of cost:

amount billed, which is the amount billed to a patient who is uninsured or who obtains service off-grid;

and the authorized amount, which is the total charge negotiated between an insurance plan and a provider for a network service. The authorized amount includes both the insurer’s and the member’s share of the total costs.

The median cost for a COVID-19 hospitalization ranged from $ 34,662 for patients aged 23 to 30, to $ 45,683 for those aged 51 to 60.

The estimated median amounts allowed ranged from $ 17,094 for those over 70 to $ 24,012 for those aged 51 to 60.

PolitiFact is a fact-checking project to help you sort out fact from political fiction. Truth-O-Meter ratings are determined by a panel of three publishers. The burden of proof lies with the speaker, and PolitiFact evaluates statements based on information known at the time the statement is made.


Jayapal used the lower number as an example of the cost of hospitalization due to COVID-19, his spokesperson said.

FAIR Health’s estimates for the median cost of hospitalization are consistent with what PolitiFact found from other sources.

An Aug. 20 brief on unvaccinated COVID-19 hospitalizations from the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation said various sources suggest an average hospitalization cost of around $ 20,000.

The brief showed estimates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which indicated that Medicare’s average fee-for-service COVID-19 hospitalization cost was $ 24,033. (CMS said its data is preliminary.)

The Peterson-KFF report said another study of Medicare enrollees put the average cost at $ 21,752. According to this study, the average cost was highest if the patient died in hospital ($ 32,015) and was highest if the patient needed a ventilator ($ 49,441). Researchers also said there were racial and ethnic disparities in the costs associated with COVID-19.

“Racial and ethnic minority patients incurred higher medical costs than non-Hispanic white patients, and non-Hispanic black and Hispanic patients accounted for a disproportionate number of hospitalizations requiring respiratory assistance and inpatient deaths,” he said. stated the study.


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