The Cost Of Long COVID To Employers Is Skyrocketing

September 20, 2022

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Source: BenefitsPRO, by Dan Cook

Have you been wondering whether long COVID was a true post-virus symptom? Now it has been officially confirmed – because researchers have put a price tag on what its costing employer sponsored health plans.

The latest estimate comes from Nomi Health, a technology driven direct health care system.

Nomi reviewed the medical claims from some 4-plus million plan members filed in 2022. First, two types of claims were sorted out: those labeled long COVID, and those attributed to diabetes. When the numbers were crunched, here’s what came up: Per-member employer spend on long COVID was on average $2,654.67, more than 26% higher than the average diabetic spend.

The next comparison pitted baseline COVID claims to long COVID claims. The results:

  • * A 203% increase in medical spending per-member per-month within the first six months following initial COVID-19 diagnosis, with a predicted $9,000 per case increase in medical spending compared to similar patients who had COVID but not symptoms of long COVID.
  • * A 421% increase in inpatient hospital spend within the first six months following initial COVID-19 diagnosis, with a predicted increase of $6,000 compared to similar patients without long COVID.
  • * A 126% increase in costly diagnostic laboratory and imaging procedures.
  • * A 110% increase in outpatient visits for patients.

The study also finds that long COVID patients reported a 3.6 times greater likelihood of missing work for medical reasons than plan members without the symptoms. Nomi says the average predicted cost of long COVID to patients is nearly $9,500 within the first six months following a diagnosis.

“While we’d all love to put this pandemic behind us, employers can see the potentially devastating effects of long COVID and its undeniable impact on health care costs and workforce stability,” Mark Newman, founder and CEO of Nomi Health, says. “Costs will continue to rise. Employers need to act now to support their employees with symptom awareness and care guidance while streamlining medical spending. It’s critical they plan ahead, and Nomi Health is filling the urgent need for more efficient health care delivery and cost management to combat these risks.”

 

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