POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - INSTITUTIONS

Healthcare

Covid-19 hospital treatment costs up to €152,000 per patient



National health insurer CNS in 2020 reimbursed hospitals around €17,000 for the treatment of a covid-19 patient on a regular ward, with costs rising to around €152,000 for intensive care patients on a ventilator  Photo: Shutterstock

National health insurer CNS in 2020 reimbursed hospitals around €17,000 for the treatment of a covid-19 patient on a regular ward, with costs rising to around €152,000 for intensive care patients on a ventilator  Photo: Shutterstock

Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital cost national health insurer CNS up to €152,000, health minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Members of parliament are preparing to debate a vaccine mandate on 19 January and Pirate Party MP Sven Clement ahead of the exchange requested information on the cost of covid-19 cases for the healthcare sector.

Lenert presented data for 2020 with expenses covered by the CNS in 2021 not yet fully processed. The costs include the hospital stay, consultations with doctors, medication and instruments used as well as laboratory analyses carried out.

The treatment of 1,990 people admitted to a regular hospital ward for complications from a coronavirus infection cost €17,110 on average. The most expensive 10% of cases incurred medical costs of more than €36,600 for their stay in hospital.

Costs were much higher for 286 patients treated in intensive care at an average of nearly €57,000 per person. Here, the most expensive cases cost of upwards of €125,000. Patients requiring a ventilator--173 people in 2020--cost the medical system €70,719 for the duration of their hospitalisation, with the 10% most expensive cases reaching around €152,000.

This does not include costs for follow-up treatment outside of hospital. The health minister said that there is also no conclusive data on the cost of treatment of so-called long-covid patients, who suffer symptoms for months after infection.

The number of intensive care patients in hospital peaked at 50 in December 2020. During a wave of infections in spring of 2021, there were a maximum of 38 patients in intensive care, but there is no data publicly available indicating how many patients in total were treated in hospital in 2021 to allow for an extrapolation of costs for the duration of the pandemic so far. Delivered in parliament by the health minister, the data was not immediately available in writing for consultation.

In comparison, the CNS charges the state €60 per vaccination dose administered, Lenert said. At around 1,165,000 jabs, this amounts to nearly €69.9m.