The study found that the majority of people who are diagnosed with long-term COVID have never been hospitalized with COVID-19.
Of a sample of 78,000 long-term COVID patients, 75.8% were not hospitalized, according to a FAIR Health study that analyzed records of private health care visits. Of those who recovered from long-term COVID, 81.6% of women and 67.5% of men were not hospitalized.
The researchers were unable to track patterns of long-term COVID because there was no International Classification of Disease code for the condition. But on October 1, 2021, the ICD-10 diagnostic code (U09.9) was introduced for “post-COVID-19 condition, unspecified”.
study used this code to analyze patient claims from October 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022. However, it only looked at private insurance claims, meaning that claims from public insurance companies such as Medicaid and Medicare, which typically cover more vulnerable population groups were not included. .
The study found that women are more likely than men to develop protracted COVID. While 53.8% of COVID-19 cases were women, women accounted for 59.8% of long-term COVID patients.
FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd said it was “frightening” how little could be understood about the disease before an official code was associated with it.
“We felt it was important to start providing some data about this population,” Gelburd said.
The study found that among the symptoms of long-term COVID patients, the most common were difficulty breathing, coughing, malaise and fatigue. Long COVID covers a range of symptoms that can occur in a person four weeks or more after contracting COVID-19.
Gelburd said it would be important to analyze trends in lengthy COVID statements over a longer period of time to broaden understanding of the disease.
“It will be a constant attempt to lift the veil on what was an impossible public health event in the country,” Gelburd said.
March report The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that between 7.7 million and 23 million Americans may have contracted long-term COVID.