Out-of-pocket spending for facility services, professional and ancillary services or both was reported for 981 of 1377 (71 percent) hospitalizations for privately insured patients and 1,324 of 2,968 (49 percent) hospitalizations for Medicare Advantage patients.
“As the study found, despite cost-sharing waivers, COVID-19 hospitalization incurs cost-sharing for many patients,” said Ge Bai, a professor of accounting at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
“Tradeoffs exist between ending versus extending cost-sharing waivers,” Dr. Bai, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health by email. “If cost-sharing waivers are ended, COVID-19 patients face substantial financial burden for hospitalization, but the pressure on raising premiums for all beneficiaries is contained and the daunting cost for hospitalization might reduce vaccination hesitancy.”
“On the other hand, if cost-sharing waivers are extended, COVID-19 patients are protected from high cost exposure, their COVID-19 treatment costs will be spread out among all beneficiaries though higher premiums, and financial considerations will not serve as a deterrent to vaccine-hesitant population unless they are excluded from the waiver extension,” Bai said.