CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) – From hospital expenses to what a patient pays, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of healthcare.
For the state of West Virginia, daily in-patient health care costs increased 22% since 2016 with hospital healthcare costs raising to $1,624 per patient according to QuoteWizard. Along with West Virginia, 28 other states experienced at least a 20% increase in hospital expenses.
Although how much a hospital pays to care for a patient is not directly an indicator of how people will pay for healthcare, QuoteWizard noticed a consistent pattern: as hospital expenses increased, so did the cost individuals paid for health insurance.
In 2021, the average West Virginian paid $694 per month for insurance. Now, people can expect to pay $831—a $137 increase from last year.
From 2021 to 2022, West Virginia’s average health insurance cost increased by 19.74% while the national average only increased by 0.67%, according to Value Penguin by Lending Tree, with Georgia seeing a decrease in cost of insurance by more than 40%. A possible reason for rising prices? The end of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) according to WV Policy
As a federal response to the pandemic, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act to increase income-based subsidies known as advanced premium tax credits (ACPTC). These credits helped make insurance premiums affordable to Americans, including 23,000 West Virginians; however, they will expire at the end of 2022 around the beginning of November.
With the increasing healthcare prices rising, an estimated 5 to 10 million people lost their health insurance which puts a strain on the healthcare system. Since any debt accrued is absorbed by medical providers, this means providers charge more for services and, in turn, reflect higher prices for insurance premiums.
West Virginia also has an older population with higher rates of certain health issues such as obesity, health disease and diabetes, which can cause interest rates to be higher, according to Lending Tree.