Hospital costs to treat uninsured COVID-19 patients could exceed $41B, study finds

More than 40 percent of the $100 billion earmarked for hospitals from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package could be used to treat uninsured COVID-19 patients, a new Kaiser Family Foundation study suggests.

While it is still unclear how HHS plans to distribute the $100 billion from the federal stimulus package, White House officials said April 3 that a portion of the funds will cover COVID-19 treatment costs for uninsured patients. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation study, released April 7, found that the cost of treating uninsured COVID-19 patients in the hospital could range from $13.9 billion and $41.8 billion.

If the top of the range is met, more than 40 percent of the stimulus funds will go toward reimbursing hospitals for treating uninsured COVID-19 patients.

"Given the uncertainty of our estimates of the total funding that will be needed to reimburse hospitals, and the fact that infections may come in several waves over the next year, it is unclear whether the new fund will be able to cover the costs of the uninsured in addition to other needs, such as the purchase of medical supplies and the construction of temporary facilities," the study authors wrote.

Kaiser Family Foundation said that the new analysis has many caveats, but said the study is based on conservative estimates about how many in the U.S. will get COVID-19 and require hospitalization.

Read the full analysis and methodology here. 

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