Estimates of COVID-19 Costs Emerge Amid Uncertainty

In recent days, actuaries and economists have begun to estimate how much it will cost to care for those stricken by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Since the crisis is still at an early stage, and medical data collection and analysis is limited, those estimates have a wide range.

Covered California, the California individual insurance exchange, estimated in a March 22 report that the total cost of COVID-19 coverage for the national commercial market could range from $34 billion to $251 billion in 2020. FAIR Health, a patient advocacy group, in a March 25 report estimated a possible range of $362 billion to $1.449 trillion in charges for hospitalized patients and $139 billion to $558 billion in allowed amounts.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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