Armed With More Data, Analysts Alter COVID-19 Cost Forecasts

As the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up in the U.S. in early spring, actuaries and analysts raced to develop estimates of how the disease associated with this new coronavirus would impact health care costs. Now, with cases declining in some areas and rising in others — and crucially, much more data available — some of those estimates are changing.

One analysis that recently received an update is a Wakely Consulting Group report, which was prepared at the request of America’s Health Insurance Plans and originally released March 30. That report estimated that the direct impact of COVID-19 treatment costs — for commercial, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed care insurers — would be in the range of $56 billion to $556 billion for 2020 and 2021 combined. Now, Wakely is estimating a range of $30 billion to $547 billion for those two years, with the former figure representing a low infection rate of 10% and the latter representing a high infection rate of 60%.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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