KEY POINTS

  • The study's authors say the ballpark figure could be much higher than the actual costs
  • At least $3.7 billion was spent in August alone
  • The U.S. has reported more than 660,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

The U.S. has spent more than $5 billion in treating unvaccinated COVID-19 patients over the past three months, a new analysis showed. 

The government has spent approximately $5.7 billion in preventable costs to treat 287,000 unvaccinated novel coronavirus patients who were admitted to hospitals from June to August.  

The figure includes $3.7 billion of preventable spending recorded in August alone, when the country saw a surge in hospitalizations, according to a data analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

“Preventable” costs refer to incidents where unvaccinated adults are hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment primarily, the study authors said, adding that the actual spending is likely higher than estimated in the analysis. 

“This ballpark figure is likely an understatement of the cost burden from preventable treatment of COVID-19 among unvaccinated adults,” the authors said in a press briefing.

“In our analysis of pre-pandemic private insurance claims, we estimated a typical outpatient office visit costs $105 on average. An analysis of privately insured noted COVID-19 outpatient treatment costs can average $500-$1,000 per patient.”

A report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that Medicare fee-for-service COVID-19 hospitalizations cost an average of $24,033. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Medicare, fee-for-service enrolees found that average inpatient COVID-19 treatments cost $21,752. 

“If each of these preventable hospitalizations cost roughly $20,000, on average, that would mean these largely avoidable hospitalizations have already cost billions of dollars since the beginning of June,” the authors said.

The analysis comes as the latest Census data showed that 1 in 500 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the country’s first recorded infection. 

As of Wednesday, the U.S. has reported 666,579 coronavirus-related deaths. The country has also averaged 152,300 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,805 coronavirus-related deaths over the past week, Johns Hopkins University data showed. 

The country has fully vaccinated 179,695,287 people or 54.75% of the total population, with California having the most people fully vaccinated by state. 

The U.S. has recorded a total of 41,533,693 COVID-19 cases since 2020.

hospital-1802679_1920 Representation. Lisa Steadman, 58, allegedly found her husband had died from COVID-19 after returning home from the hospital to recover from the virus. Photo: Pixabay