DALLAS — If you are unvaccinated, this might have been part of your calculation for not getting the shot: That if you get COVID-19 and end up needing medical intervention, the treatment would be free.
Early on in the pandemic, insurers generally waived our expenses for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
But that was then.
Now that vaccines are widely available and fully approved for most Americans, many insurance companies have restored our liability for COVID-related medical bills and that adds up to thousands in costs for some patients.
And those bills are not inexpensive
A new report by FAIR Health says the average billable amount for outpatient COVID-19 treatment in Texas is $1,164. That’s outpatient -- when you aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized.
It gets worse from there. The average medical charges insurance companies are allowing in Texas if you are hospitalized, but not on a ventilator or in the ICU, is $23,843. And the report estimates the average bill if you are hospitalized in Texas with a severe case of COVID-19 is $99,198.
Of course, insured patients would not be responsible for that entire amount, but the patient cost could easily be in the thousands if their insurers are among the many who have reverted back to cost-sharing for COVID-related medical treatment.
And the report says those are the in-network averages. The out-of-network charges are enough to make you feel sick even if you aren’t. Those range from $3,157 for outpatient COVID-19 treatment to $378,052 for severe cases requiring intensive care in the hospital.
A different cost of COVID-19
Working from home to maintain social distancing during the pandemic is great in many ways. But if you are out of the office you are also at risk of being out of the minds of your management team.
Vyopta, an Austin company that specializes in collaboration technologies, surveyed corporate executives and found that 77% of them acknowledged that if you are joining meetings remotely, you are at a disadvantage. Sixty-five percent of them have prioritized getting everybody to turn on their camera.
Also, they found that more than two out of five companies aren’t monitoring the chat in those virtual office meetings, so you may want to turn on your camera and your microphone and chime in so that you don’t go from Working From Home to a Worker Forgotten at Home.
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