While researchers are beginning to notice trends regarding patients hospitalized due to the coronavirus disease 2019
(COVID-19), there are very few demographic groups that have been spared by the cost and destruction of the virus, according to a new report by FAIR Health.
“There is no one profile of COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 affects all age groups, genders and regions and both rural and urban areas,” the authors wrote. “COVID-19 patients receive their initial diagnosis for the disease across a spectrum of venues of care. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients have diverse comorbidities, and the costs of hospitalization vary.”
The investigators tapped into the largest repository of private healthcare claims on some characteristics of COVID-19 patients, including age, gender, rural or urban inhabitance, venue of care when initially diagnosed, venue of care by age, comorbidities of hospitalized patients, and median costs of hospitalization.
The report is based on the data of over 31 billion private healthcare claim records.
Currently, chronic kidney disease and kidney failure are the most common comorbidity in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, with type 2 diabetes being the second most common comorbidity in all regions except for the south where hypertension comes in second. This group accounts for 13% of all COVID-19 patients between January and May 2020.
One, possibly surprising conclusion, was that obesity was not one of the 10 most common comorbidities for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but is frequently associated with both type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea, which rank in the top 10.
Nationally, the median charge for a COVID-19 hospitalization ranged from $34,662 for a patient in the 23-30 age group to $45,683 for the 51-60 age group. The median estimated allowed amounts ranged from $17,094 for patients over 70 to $24,012 for individuals between 51-60 years old.
The researchers also found the West was the region of the country with the widest range of costs for COVID-19 hospitalizations, which ranged from $21,047 for the 19-22 age group to $93,459 for the age group older than 70. The median estimated allowed amounts ranged from $15,289 in the 19-22 age group to $60,205 for the age group older than 70.
Nationally, 33.3% of COVID-19 patients initially presented COVID-19 symptoms at an office, while 23.0% presented to an inpatient facility, which was particularly true for the older population.
Telehealth has also been utilized as a diagnostic tool for COVID-19 infections, particularly in the Northeast, where it was more common for patients to be diagnosed via telehealth (6.7%) compared to the emergency room (6.2%).
During the study time period, which ended in May, infections were more commonly associated with the 51-60 age group, which accounted for 29.9% of the distribution of claim lines with the diagnosis and males, which drew a 54% share of diagnosed infections. Those under the age of 18 accounted for the smallest share with just 1.5% of the total COVID-19 infections.
In the South, Midwest, and West regions of the US, individuals between 19-30 and 31-40 years old accounted for larger shares of the distribution of claim lines than in the Northeast.
Rural and urban areas had nearly identical shares of the COVID-19 claim line distribution, representing 30.2% and 30.3% respectively.
The study represents the fourth in a series of briefs on COVID-19.
The study, “Key Characteristics of COVID-19 Patients: Profiles Based on Analysis of Private Healthcare Claims
,” was published online by Fair Health