More than 18 million people have been infected by coronavirus worldwide, about a quarter of them in the United States. It is likely to be years before the costs for those who have recovered can be fully calculated, according to Reuters interviews with approximately a dozen physicians and health economists.
These experts point to the potential for billions of dollars in long-term healthcare expenses, as studies of patients with COVID-19 continue to uncover new complications associated with the disease. They say the costs stem from COVID-19’s toll on multiple organs, including heart, lung and kidney damage that likely will require costly care, such as regular scans and ultrasounds, as well as neurologic deficits that are not yet fully understood.
The added costs likely will lead to increases in insurance premiums and long-term care costs. Bruce Lee of the City University of New York Public School of Health estimated that if 20% of the U.S. population contracts the virus, the one-year post-hospitalization costs would be at least $50 billion. This is before factoring in longer-term care for lingering health problems. Without a vaccine, if 80% of the population became infected, that cost would jump to $204 billion.
“On a global level, nobody knows how many will still need checks and treatment in three months, six months, a year,” Marco Rizzi, M.D., a physician in Bergamo, Italy told Reuters. Rizzi has seen nearly 600 people with COVID-19 for follow-up. He is co-chairing a World Health Organization panel recommending long-term follow-up for patients. Even those with mild COVID-19 “may have consequences in the future,” he added.
LTC Comment: Covid-19 hit LTC when it was already down. The perfect storm of an oncoming economic catastrophe and growing long-term health care costs may finish the welfare-financed system. Will private financing markets, including home equity conversion and private LTC insurance, fill the breach?
How will you or your clients pay for their LTC costs?
Assets have lost value, LTC costs are up and likely to go higher. LTC insurance with an automatic 5% compound inflation factor WILL keep up with increasing costs and allow those insured to get the care they need where they want it, instead of relying on a Medicaid nursing home.