24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Do Immune-Based Cancer Drugs Work Better in Men?Gene Found in Amish Helps Protect Their HeartsOmicron May Overcome Prior COVID InfectionWindy Days Are Safer Days When It Comes to COVID-19Most Vaccinated Adults Plan to Get Boosters: PollStudy Finds Delta Somewhat Resistant to Vaccines — What About Omicron?Is the Mumps Vaccine Becoming Less Effective?Vaping Can Trigger Gene Changes in Cells: StudyPfizer or Moderna? Head-to-Head Study Shows One Shot Has an EdgeSurvivors of Severe COVID Face Doubled Risk for Death a Year LaterKids With Uncontrolled Asthma at Higher Odds for Severe COVID-19Nearly 7% of U.S. Kids Have Had a Head Injury or ConcussionFirst U.S. Omicron Case Reported in California'Ultra-Processed' Foods Up Odds for a Second Heart Attack or StrokeCDC to Toughen COVID Testing for International TravelersAHA News: Irregular Heartbeat Risk Linked to Frequent Alcohol Use in People Under 40Certain Blood Thinners Can Raise Risk of 'Delayed' Bleeding After Head InjuryFDA Panel Gives Support to Merck's COVID Antiviral PillLong-Haul COVID Can Include Chronic Fatigue: StudyVaccines, Boosters Should Protect Against Severe COVID, Even With Omicron: FauciPfizer to Seek FDA Approval of Boosters for Teens Ages 16-17Regeneron Says Its Antibody Cocktail Likely Weakened by Omicron VariantCOVID May Trigger Heart Condition in Young AthletesMany People With High Blood Pressure May Take a Drug That Worsens It: StudyBiden Pushes Vaccines, Masks as Best Defense Against Omicron VariantHow Easily Can Singing Spread COVID-19?New Insights Into What Might Drive Parkinson's DiseaseHot Days Can Send Even Younger Folks to the ERRed Light in Morning May Protect Fading Eyesight: StudyMerck's COVID Pill Appears Effective, But May Pose Pregnancy Risks: FDAVaccine Makers Already Testing Their Shots Against Omicron VariantWhat Experts Know About the Omicron 'Variant of Concern'Gout Drug Colchicine Won't Help Fight COVID-19What You Need to Know About Stomach CancerFetal Infection With COVID-19 Possible, But UnlikelyCOVID Protection Wanes After 2 Doses of Pfizer Vaccine: StudyRural Hospitals' ERs Just as Effective as Urban Ones: Study1 in 5 Avoided Health Care During Pandemic, Study FindsBoosters: What You Need to KnowAHA News: Pulmonary Embolism Is Common and Can Be Deadly, But Few Know the SignsAlmost 1 in Every 3 College-Age Americans Are Now ObeseAnimal Study Offers Hope for a Vaccine Against Lyme DiseaseAddictive Opioid Painkillers Might Not Be Needed After Knee SurgeryYears of Blood Thinners After Stenting Might Not Be NecessaryU.S. COVID Cases, Hospitalizations on the Rise Just Before ThanksgivingVaping Could Weaken Your Bones, Study FindsWearable Vibration Device May Ease Parkinson's TremorPfizer Says Its COVID Vaccine Provides Full Protection to AdolescentsBooster Shots Prompt Stronger, Longer Protection Than Original Shots: StudyTV Remotes, Nurse Call Buttons: Where Coronavirus Lingers in Nursing Homes
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Out-of-Pocket Medical Bills for COVID-19 May Average $3,800 in 2021: Study

HealthDay News
by Robert Preidt
Updated: Oct 18th 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, Oct. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 could now face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs, according to a new report.

In 2020, most health insurance companies waived co-pays, deductibles and other cost-sharing for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but many stopped doing that early this year, the University of Michigan researchers noted.

"Many insurers claim that it is justified to charge patients for COVID-19 hospitalizations now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available," said study lead author Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, a health policy researcher and pediatrician at Michigan Medicine, in Ann Arbor.

"However, some people hospitalized for COVID-19 aren't eligible for vaccines, such as young children, while others are vaccinated patients who experienced a severe breakthrough infection. Our study suggests these patients could [have] substantial bills," Chua said in a university news release.

For this study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 4,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations of people with private insurance and Medicare Advantage insurance between March and September 2020.

The vast majority of patients didn't have to pay for hospital services, suggesting their plans waived cost-sharing for bills sent by hospitals.

But the few patients who did have to pay for hospital services — an indication that a waiver wasn't in place — had out-of-pocket costs in the thousands of dollars.

Based on last year's information, the researchers said hospitalized COVID-19 patients without waivers could now face out-of-pocket bills of about $3,800 for those with private insurance, and $1,500 for those with Medicare Advantage plans.

The findings could have implications for people who haven't been vaccinated and those with underlying conditions that put them at risk of a severe breakthrough case of COVID-19, according to the authors. The results were published online Oct. 18 in JAMA Network Open.

The researchers also found that insurer cost-sharing waivers for COVID-19 hospitalizations don't always cover all hospitalization-related care. For example, many patients in the study received bills from doctors who cared for them in the hospital and from ambulance companies.

Overall, 71% of privately insured patients received a bill for any hospitalization-related service, with an average cost of $788. Among those with Medicare Advantage coverage, about half received a bill, with an average cost of $277.

Chua said he's concerned that "the threat of high costs might cause some patients with severe COVID-19 to delay going to the hospital, increasing their risk of death."

He said the federal government should require insurers to waive costs of COVID-19 hospitalization-related care throughout the pandemic, as they do for COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

However, that's unlikely to happen given widespread anger against the unvaccinated, Chua said.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlines COVID-19 treatments.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, Oct. 18, 2021