Pandemic's cost effects could be felt for decades, Fitch says

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The U.S. healthcare system may deal with the pandemic's cost effects for decades, according to a July 28 report from Fitch Ratings. 

The credit rating agency said it expects health conditions related to COVID-19, such as long COVID-19 or deferred care, to boost health system utilization and cause increased costs and higher insurance premiums for decades.

"These costs will emerge from the necessary addition to mostly outpatient capacity that is expected to come on line as needed to deal with ongoing treatment of chronic conditions related to potentially permanent damage caused by COVID-19," Fitch said. 

Fitch said the magnitude and cost of effects from the pandemic currently are "inestimable," but it does not expect these effects to directly affect the credit ratings for hospitals, health systems or insurers. 

"Given the gradual nature of the rise in associated spending, Fitch does not anticipate this issue to directly affect the credit profile of issuers in the healthcare delivery or financing sectors," the credit rating agency said.

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