Healthcare affordability in the Pandemic — A wake up call
The last few weeks have been a once in a lifetime experience for us all. Self-isolations, quarantine, over 80% of the population under some form of shelter-in-place orders — the experience is just surreal. COVID-19, apart from being a medical issue, has also surfaced as a social, economic and a personal finance issue. We will explore the personal finance side, more specifically affordability and price transparency of COVID-19 care in the United States.
As of 14th April 2020, there are roughly 600,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with close to 25,000 fatalities(1). Current numbers show roughly 15% serious illness rate which requires hospitalization and 5% critical illness rate, that requires ICU care. It has been estimated that the cost for such hospitalization ranges from $20,000 to $40,000. While there has been a lot of focus and attention on broader economic impacts of COVID-19, there has been very little discussion on how the impacted patients will afford COVID-19 care.
There’s a ton of complexity patients currently navigate to decide when, where and how to seek healthcare. One of the key factors in that navigation is the patient’s affordability, or ability to pay for care. Patients, or consumers of care, assess both sides of affordability — on one hand they assess personal situation of, “How will I pay?” and on another they need to know, “What will I actually owe?”….