Coronavirus Outbreak Leaves Experts Unable to Predict Health Care Spending For Next Year
By Consumers For Quality Care, on July 20, 2020
According to a CNBC report, the coronavirus pandemic has caused so much disruption in the health care system that large employers and insurers are unable to estimate health spending for next year.
Uncertainty surrounding the impact of coronavirus has forced some insurers to issue refunds to customers this year, only further complicating the models used by experts to predict next year’s prices for premiums and copays.
“It’s a difficult process … and from a financial perspective what I’ve said to my board is we have to look at 2020 and 2021 as one fiscal year,” said Michael Carson, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a New England-based not-for-profit health insurer.
As insurers paid more money for treatments related to the virus, there was a sharp decline in elective medical procedures – substantially cutting spending and ultimately skewing projections for next year’s plans.
Uncertainty surrounding a potential second wave of coronavirus also makes it difficult to predict whether medical costs will be lower or higher next year. Experts say that a second wave could postpone more elective care until next year, ballooning medical costs by about 10% from pre-coronavirus levels.
Experts also fear a sicker population due to patients putting off health visits during the pandemic. Meanwhile, employers are bracing for higher costs related to coronavirus testing if a second wave hits.