Long COVID outpacing diabetes in employer healthcare costs: study

Long COVID-19 is costing employers more than $600 more per member than the average diabetes episode through the first six months of 2022, according to a study from healthcare services provider Nomi Health. 

Nomi Health analyzed 20.3 million medical claims for more than 4.68 million insured members in 2022 through June, according to an Aug. 30 news release. The company compared the average per-member diabetic cost — both medical and pharmacy — to the average medical cost of long COVID and closely associated conditions.  

Four things to know:

1. The per-member employer spending on long COVID through June 2022 was $2,654.67, more than 26 percent higher than the average diabetic spending. 

2. The average predicted cost of long COVID to patients is $9,500 within the first six months of a COVID-19 diagnosis. This total is driven by physician visits, hospital stays and increased likelihood prescriptions for steroids, antibiotics and respiratory medications.

3. Long COVID resulted in a 203 percent increase in medical spending per member, per month within the first six months of an initial COVID-19 diagnosis, leading to an estimated $9,000 per-case increase in spending compared to similar patients who had COVID-19 but no subsequent long COVID symptoms.

 4. Long COVID resulted in a 110 percent increase in outpatient visits, resulting in rising costs, the report stated.

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