What 90K+ claims from Blue plans reveal about high-risk COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 patients with high-risk conditions like pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and diabetes are three times more likely to require care in an intensive care unit, according to an analysis of claims reviewed by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

The analysis includes national claims data from 90,900 COVID-19 cases across 4.5 million Americans. BCBSA found the average cost per admission for high-risk COVID-19 patients was 30 percent higher than for patients without underlying chronic conditions.

The average cost of COVID-19 treatment was between $500 and $1,000 for members who didn't require hospitalization, which reflected 95 percent of patients. But for members who did need hospitalization, treatment costs were 45 times higher than in an outpatient setting, and cost for ICU care was two and a half times higher than hospitalization costs. The average costs don't reflect out-of-pocket expenses for members, as cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment was waived during the study period.

"While most COVID-19 patients don't need to be hospitalized, the data reinforces the importance of staying vigilant about COVID-19 protections and the benefits of taking the COVID-19 vaccines," BCBSA said.

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