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Patients face long-term financial impact after Covid-19: Study

Patients who contracted Covid-19 but did not require hospitalisation were more likely to experience financial challenges, as compared with a comparison group of individuals whose financial outcomes were measured before getting Covid-19 infection, a new study has shown.

According to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, Covid patients who required hospital care had the highest rates of serious financial issues after their illness.

The study analysed data from over 1,32,000 individuals, providing only a limited snapshot of their financial health six months before or after experiencing a Covid illness.

After adjusting for differences among patients, 42 per cent of the patients hospitalised for Covidinfection had a low credit score six months after their hospital stay, compared with 3 per cent of a similar group of people who hadn’t yet required a hospital stay for Covid-19 but went on to need one later.

Similarly, 27 per cent of the patients who had been hospitalised for Covid-19 ended up having medical debt sent to collections agencies, compared with 19 per cent of the comparison group; the gap for non-hospitalised patients was small but still significant, according to the study.

“More than half of Americans now report having had Covid-19, and more than 4,50,000 have been hospitalised, so the potential number experiencing serious financial issues linked to their experience with the virus is high,” said Michigan Medicine internal medicine physician and health care researcher Nora Becker, MD, PhD.

“While we cannot tell from our data exactly how linked these financial outcomes are with the aftermath of infection, we know that others have shown the impacts of Covid-19 infection on the short- and long-term ability to work,” she added.

According to Becker and her colleagues, all of the pandemic policies with an economic focus that could have helped individuals with their finances have expired as of this spring, including — assistance for food and rent, coverage for testing, outpatient medication, and hospitalisation at no cost.




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