Potential Costs of Coronavirus Treatment for People with Employer Coverage

As COVID-19 spreads within the United States, questions have arisen over the potential costs people may face if they become severely ill and need treatment. While many large insurers have agreed to waive copayments and deductibles for COVID-19 tests, people with private insurance who face deductibles could still be on the hook for large treatment costs.

A new brief examines the potential cost of COVID-19 treatment to employer health plans and their enrollees by looking at typical spending for hospital admissions for pneumonia. It finds that for coronavirus patients with complications or comorbidities, treatment costs could top $20,000. Average out-of-pocket costs could exceed $1,300 for all admitted patients, including those without complications or comorbidities.

The analysis also estimates the likelihood of unexpected out-of-network charges (“surprise medical bills”) for coronavirus treatment, and finds that nearly 1 in 5 patients who have in-network admissions for pneumonia with major complications or comorbidities face out-of-network charges.

The analysis is part of the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

For more data, analysis, polling and journalism on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our special resource page on kff.org.