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COVID-19 hospitalization costs could run in the trillions

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Posted at 1:58 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 13:58:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. — As the human costs of COVID-19 and its delta variant continue to mount, another cost looms large on the horizon for those who have had to seek treatment for the deadly disease.

According to the website FairHealthConsumer.org, the costs of being hospitalized for COVID-19 are enough to send any family spinning into debt. The website estimated the charge of an out-of-network/uninsured price for a typical COVID-19 hospitalization in Tampa at more than $62,000 and an in-network charge for COVID-19 hospitalization in Tampa at more than $36,000.

While those costs may sound high, the costs and potential debt become even more daunting if your hospital stay involves complications.

According to FairHealthConsumer, the average out-of-network/uninsured charge for a COVID-19 hospitalization with complexities in Tampa was more than $330,000. The news isn’t much better if you stay in-network. FairHealthConsumer found the average in-network charge of a COVID-19 hospitalization with complexities in Tampa would be more than $163,000.

The costs will be incurred by tens of thousands of Floridians and Americans who must be hospitalized while fighting the delta variant.

For example, as of Friday, there were 15,840 Floridians hospitalized with COVID-19, per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As of 2019, the uninsured rate in Florida was 13.1 percent, according to statista.com. That would make roughly 2,059 of the total hospitalized having no insurance. Those 2,059 uninsured people would generate charges of $127.7 million if they had no complications. Adding in complications would push the charges for this group to $680 million.

If we looked at the insured numbers in Florida from just the number of people in the hospital right now (15,840), the number would 13,781. Using FairRateHealthConsumer’s numbers, the hospitalization charges without complications would be $496.1 million, while a hospitalization with complications in-network could run as high as $2.25 trillion.

At a national level, HHS reported 81,407 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 Friday. The average uninsured rate in the nation is 9.5 percent. That would leave approximately 7,733 people of those in the hospital with COVID-19 without insurance. Based on FairRateHealthConsumer’s averages, the national charges for those without insurance could run between $479.5 million and $1.3 trillion.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS), U.S. health care spending grew 4.6 percent in 2019, reaching $3.8 trillion or $11,582 per person. With COVID-19 and its delta variant continuing to spread, the costs associated with it may be felt for decades.