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The Impact the Unvaccinated Are Having on Healthcare Spending


September 15, 2021 – The impact the unvaccinated population is having on healthcare spending is significant, according to a new analysis from Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

There were approximately 287,000 preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations this summer (June, July, and August) among unvaccinated adults, the analysis found using data from HHS and CDC. With the average cost of a preventable hospitalization at about $20,000, the preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations cost the healthcare system almost $6 billion in just three months alone, researchers reported.

Those hospitalizations could have been prevented if the adults had gotten vaccinated, the analysis indicated. Of the total COVID-19 hospitalizations between June and August 2021, nearly 99 percent were among unvaccinated people, the analysis shows.

Researchers noted that they did adjust for the fact that COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent all hospitalizations among people diagnosed with COVID-19. The numbers in the analysis are also estimates and do not account for hospital prices, which vary widely . But they do point to a significant impact the unwillingness to get vaccinated is having on healthcare spending in the US.

“Still, this ballpark figure is likely an understatement of the cost burden from preventable treatment of COVID-19 among unvaccinated adults,” they wrote in the analysis.

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