Hospital admissions remained below expected levels through early April, while spending for hospital and ambulatory care remained below expected levels through at least June, according to an updated analysis released today by Epic Health Research Network and Kaiser Family Foundation. The update is based on data for nearly 10 million admissions in the Epic health record system and Bureau of Economic Analysis data on health services spending trends.
“Thus far into the pandemic, we have not seen an increase in hospital admissions due to pent-up demand for forgone care in the last year,” the authors said.
Health insurers may be benefiting financially from this decline in hospital admissions and certain other medical services since the start of the pandemic, the authors said.
“KFF analysis found that in 2020 average gross margins for health insurers had remained relatively high compared to 2019 and 2018 across the individual market, group market, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Managed Care markets,” the report notes. “In the fully-insured commercial market, the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to return some excess profits to enrollees in the form of rebates.”
In recent weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations have begun to trend upward again, in part due to the delta variant, the authors note.