- Uninsured Americans with COVID-19 would pay an estimated average of $73,300 for a 6-day hospital stay, according to a recent report by FAIR Health.
- There are 27 million Americans without insurance.
- COVID-19 symptoms range widely and treatment could vary, so costs could realistically be far less - or more.
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A trip to the hospital for coronavirus treatment may set you back (many) thousands.
A recent report by healthcare cost database FAIR Health, which looked at the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the healthcare system, found that a six-day inpatient stay for treatment of coronavirus symptoms would cost 100% of the price for someone without insurance: a whopping average of $73,300. (The same would apply if you stay in a hospital outside of your insurance network and your insurance plan doesn't have out-of-network benefits.) There are 27 million Americans without insurance, despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
The analysis considered nearly 18 million people under age 65 who used employer health plan claims.
The chart below looks at the estimated average costs per patient with COVID-19, per the report. It breaks down payment costs for professionals - individual health providers like physicians - and for a six-day inpatient stay for those with and without insurance. It also includes the average reimbursement amounts for Medicare and Medicaid patients, which are $10,561 and $7,533, respectively.
Those with insurance are estimated to have an average medical bill for the same duration stay of $38,221, but that doesn't mean that's how much they'll pay. That is the rate negotiated between your insurance plan and your in-network health providers. How much you'd actually pay depends on your insurance plan.
To determine these cost averages, Fair Health looked at the most commonly received treatment and professional services that patients with influenza and pneumonia in its sample size received. A respiratory illness, COVID-19 typically include shortness of breath in severe cases. But symptoms range widely across individuals, and treatment is often a case-by-case basis.
It's possible that if you are hospitalized for COVID-19, you won't undergo all of these procedures, might undergo different procedures, or could undergo additional procedures. So, you could owe less - or more - than what's shown in the chart above, depending on your treatment.
But even if you aren't hospitalized for COVID-19, testing and treatment could still cost a pretty penny. Danny Askinsi, based in the Boston area, told Time magazine that she tested positive for COVID-19 and is uninsured. Her testing and treatment involved three trips to the ER before she was tested, resulting in a nearly $40,000 medical bill.
And two people who didn't test positive, but received other related treatment and testing, received bills for over $3,000. Add up all these high medical costs for matters of life and death during a pandemic and you see a broken healthcare system at a time when Americans literally can worst afford it.