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Postacute sequelae of coronavirus (PASC) disease of 2019 (COVID-19) include morbidity and mortality, but little is known of the impact on medical expenditures. This study measures patients' health care costs after COVID hospitalization before vaccinations. The Merative MarketScan database is used to track trends in medical expenditures for commercially insured patients hospitalized for COVID-19 (case subjects) compared with COVID-19 patients not hospitalized (control subjects) using a propensity score matching model. Medical expenditures were estimated from 30-, 60-, and 120-day clean periods after an initial COVID-19 encounter through the end of 2020. Average total medical expenditures were 96% higher for individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 starting 30 days after initial COVID-19 encounter and almost 70% higher 120 days after based on the propensity score matching. The average spending differential was $11,242 30 days after and $4959 120 days after. This effect is highest for inpatient admissions and services 60 days after at $56,862 and lowest among pharmaceuticals 120 days after at $329. The magnitude of the difference is greater for those with hypertension or diabetes where total expenditures is $14,958 30 days after, and $5962 120 days after compared with those without these chronic conditions. The results suggest both health and economic implications for COVID-19 hospitalization and supports the use of vaccinations to help mitigate these implications. PASC includes increased health care costs for hospitalized patients, particularly for those with chronic conditions. Preventing COVID-19 hospitalization has economic value in terms of reduced medical spending in addition to health benefits associated with reduced morbidity and mortality. © Copyright by the American Board of Family Medicine.


Tamkeen Khan, Stavros Tsipas, Gregory D Wozniak, Kate Kirley, Arch G Mainous. Health Care Costs Following COVID-19 Hospitalization Prior to Vaccine Availability. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM. 2024 Jan 05;36(6):883-891

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PMID: 37857443

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