When will insurance stop paying 100% of COVID-19 hospital bills?
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In March 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which required health insurance companies to cover COVID-19 tests and vaccinations at no cost to members and covered all costs of COVID-19 treatment for Medicare patients.
Insurance companies could afford to cover the costs as they were spending much less on other treatments and hospitalizations delayed by the pandemic.
But health policy experts say It is only a matter of time before patients start paying more COVID-19 medical bills out of their own pocket.
A new study of Commonwealth Fund asked 5,450 working-age adults between March and June 2021 how the pandemic affected their health insurance coverage and medical debt. The headline is that more than a third of insured adults and half of uninsured adults have struggled to pay their medical bills during the pandemic. The study found:
People directly affected by the pandemic have reported having problems with medical bills and debt at higher rates than those not directly affected.
Among respondents with problems with medical bills and debt
- 35% used all or most of their savings
- 35% have incurred credit card debt
- 27% could not afford basic necessities such as food or rent
- 23 percent delayed their education or career plans.
I wonder if this financial snapshot might motivate unvaccinated people to reconsider their choice, although I’m really surprised that the average disbursement isn’t much higher.
Many health insurance companies have waived co-payments and other cost-sharing requirements for people with COVID-19, but a study by University of Michigan and Boston University researchers find even those with health insurance have been hit with medical bills during the pandemic. Of 1,377 privately insured patients hospitalized with COVID-19 last year from March to September, 71% were billed an average of $ 788 for personal expenses not covered by insurance.
Let’s look at this one to see if it becomes a trend. Bloomberg Reports that Apple is delaying his return to the office for at least a month as new cases of COVID-19 increase around the world. Apple planned to open its offices in California in September. Now it will be at least in October.
I note this because it was Apple that was one of the first big companies to tell employees to stay home when the pandemic started last year. Bloomberg also reports:
Employees of the (Apple) Store, vaccinated or not, are urged to resume wearing masks, others familiar with the matter said. In areas where local authorities have reinstated mask warrants, retail workers must comply, the company told employees. Apple had abandoned its mandate as an internal mask in June.
Businesses around the world are wondering how to adapt to the changing demands of work in the post-Covid era. Apple’s move comes as its own employees criticized the September deadline as being too early. In an email to employees regarding the return timeframe, Apple cited Covid-19 rather than employee concerns about limited remote options.
When Apple employees are finally required to return, they must work from the office on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Wednesdays and Fridays may be remote for some staff members.
Fox Business says other large companies are wondering if they should also delay their return to the office, but officially their plans are to return as planned.
People at banks such as JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs say they haven’t made any changes to their plans to reopen so far. JPMorgan and Goldman have previously told employees to start returning to the office after about a year of working from home during the worst of the pandemic. While Morgan Stanley said he expects employees to return to the office after Labor Day.
Here are some facts that are related to each other:
- Today, the delta variant accounts for 83% of all new COVID-19 cases.
- Almost 1,600 counties in 40 states have vaccinated less than 40% of their population.
In other words, two-thirds of counties in the United States have vaccinated less than 40% of their residents. On this map, these are the counties in orange. Orange counties also recorded 100 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
A new study excess deaths – meaning deaths that are not the normal expected number – shows that the Indian government may have significantly underestimated the number of people who died from COVID-19 last year. The new study indicates that the real number could be between 3.4 and 4.7 million people. The government put the death toll at 414,000. The US-based Center for Global Development said it relied on three data sources to make the new estimate.
We need more data even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t collecting what they once did. We do not know:
Again, today we learn that common knowledge is false. Contrary to the widely held belief that most people have taken the COVID-20 pounds, a take a closer look at millions of medical records from last year shows no such thing.
Researchers gained access to data from your medical records, the ones your doctor keeps when you step on the scale during a doctor’s visit. These records – all medical records, for that matter – are consolidated into massive databases, which can sometimes be used in research without using your personal information.
Here’s what the researchers found:
We assessed the weight change in adults during the pandemic compared to the weight change in adults in the year before the pandemic. A 2.5 pound weight loss or gain, which we define as normal fluctuation or “no change”, was most common, both before the pandemic and during the pandemic. Almost as many patients lost weight (35%) as they gained weight (39%) during the pandemic.
This is pretty much normal compared to other years.
Make no mistake about it though. Americans are constantly gaining weight. We seem to collect and keep about a pound every winter.
The Washington Post takes a moment to remind us that this data flies in the face of the polls:
In vote commissioned by the American Psychological Association, 42% of Americans said they gained more weight during the pandemic than they expected, gaining 29 pounds on average. Ten percent said they gained more than 50 pounds.
And in a small study published in March in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 7,400 participants reported gaining about 1.5 pounds per month from February to June 2020.
Yet both of these surveys relied on self-reported data, rather than actual measurements taken in a doctor’s office or hospital. And there can be downsides to relying on how people see themselves.
The first state fair I attended was the Ohio State Fair. It was, for a young boy, a wonder. But now the Ohio State Fair has opened with cattle but no spectators. County fairs are in full swing, but the state fair was unable to change its plans to fully reopen soon enough.
I watched the lists of the best state fairs and there is general consensus on the top spots, in varying order, being Minnesota, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, New York, Arizona, and Kentucky. I have no idea how the Florida State Fair made anyone’s list. Apart from pig breeds and the delivery barn. My wife and I encourage the birth of babies.
I’m not surprised that gymnastics is the most anticipated event of the Olympics, which begins this week. I guessed correctly than the last poll would show Simone Biles as the best known and most favorite American Olympian.
But I wondered what would be the least expected events. Before looking at the results, I took a look at the list and thought archery might be a dwellers at the bottom. It actually scores pretty high compared to rugby, canoeing, and rowing. Handball isn’t a big draw either.
Field hockey isn’t a big draw either, but I’d still rather watch it than cornhole tournaments on ESPNâ¦ or curling. Please. No curling. And the other day I heard a golf radio show. It was a thrill.
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