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A new study examined which states got the most money from the Department of Health and Human Services to cover costs for testing and treatments of the uninsured. feds
The federal government has paid out $1.5 billion to cover the testing and treatment of uninsured COVID-19 patients, and states with high uninsured rates are getting the most dollars.
The study, published from QuoteWizard by LendingTree, looked at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on claims reimbursements to providers. The study comes as the amount of money doled out to providers for uninsured claims is lower than anticipated at the start of the pandemic.
The study looked at the total money a state got for uninsured claims for testing and treatment and then divided that figure by the total number of COVID-19 cases, not just those who are uninsured.
“This figure represents a per-person metric that shows how states have utilized testing and treatment for uninsured people,” the study said.
The state with the highest COVID-19 reimbursement per person was New Jersey with $586 per case. New Jersey got $46 million for testing and $83 million for treatment claims for 222,193 cases.
The high reimbursement cost was “likely a result of full utilization of testing and treatment resources in the state,” The study said. “The mobilization of testing and treatment in New Jersey could be looked at as a successful rollout of needed resources compared to other states.”
States with high uninsured rates also were among the top states to get COVID-19 reimbursements.
Texas, which has the third-highest uninsured rate in the U.S. at 18%, had the third-highest cost per case with $395. The state got $58 million for testing and $270 million for treatment out of 833,557 total cases.
North Carolina, which had an uninsured rate of 12.9% in 2018, had the second-highest cost per COVID-19 case with $472.
“Over half of the top states for cost per case are also states with the highest rates of uninsured people,” the study said. “This would signal that while testing and treatment has been utilized more, it’s because there are more uninsured people in these states that need to be reimbursed.”
The Trump administration agreed to reimburse providers for the treatment and testing of any uninsured COVID-19 patients. The administration would use money from a $175 billion provider relief fund passed by Congress as part of the CARES Act.
The number of uninsured claims has been lower than anticipated. An analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated the cost for treating such patients could be between nearly $14 billion and $41.8 billion.
A separate analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation gave several reasons, including administrative barriers for smaller providers to submit claims. Another potential reason could be that the administration makes reimbursement contingent on COVID-19 being the primary diagnosis, when in some cases patients are treated for other symptoms brought on by the diagnosis.
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