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COVID-19 Hospitalization Costs Surge to $11,275 on Average

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 3, 2024 (HealthDay News) — The adjusted mean cost of an inpatient stay for treating COVID-19 was $11,275 overall, with higher mean costs for those with specific comorbidities, according to a study published online Jan. 3 in JAMA Network Open.

Kandice A. Kapinos, Ph.D., from RAND Corporation in Arlington, Virginia, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the mean cost to provide inpatient care to treat COVID-19 and cost variation through the pandemic waves using inpatient-level data from March 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022. The sample included 1,333,404 stays at 841 hospitals for patients with a primary or secondary COVID-19 diagnosis.

The researchers found that the mean adjusted cost of an inpatient stay was $11,275 overall and increased from $10,394 to $13,072 at the end of March 2020 and the end of March 2022, respectively. Higher mean costs were seen for patients with specific comorbidities than their counterparts, with an additional $2,924 and $3,017 in inpatient stay costs for those with obesity and those with coagulation deficiency, respectively. The adjusted mean cost was $36,484 for stays during which the patient required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

“Hospital costs increased more than five times the rate of medical inflation over this period. This was explained partly by changes in the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which also increased over time,” the authors write. “Nonetheless, costs to provide inpatient care increased even as care practices changed, vaccination rates increased, and the variants of concern evolved.”

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