Across the nation, we continue to witness the high demand and stress the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on our healthcare system. While challenges and uncertainty continue to present themselves, costs increase.
The healthcare marketplace’s combined costs for testing, treating, and caring for patients is estimated to rise from $56 billion to $556 billion over the next two years based on model predictions provided by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). A study from Covered California, the state’s health marketplace, estimates between $34 billion and $251 billion in coronavirus-related expenses for their state alone, over that same time period. The need for necessary tools and resource investments can make these final price points even more unpredictable.
Major insurance carriers such as Aetna, Independence Blue Cross, Highmark, and Cigna are actively monitoring the spread of the virus; in addition to waving out-of-pocket costs, covering costs for doctor visits, and eliminating cost-sharing for fees related to coronavirus testing to ensure members have better access to care. However, these expenses do not disappear, so employers may see those costs trickle down in the form of greater cost sharing and higher premiums for employees.
Uncertainty will continue to make it difficult to estimate what the healthcare marketplace will look like in the coming months, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging everyone to do their part. If individuals observe the recommendations and guidelines published by the CDC to help contain the virus, the number of cases will decrease and the chances of healthcare costs spiking lessen.
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