Oregon Health Authority data shows massive insurance payments to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment

Data released Friday by the Oregon Health Authority shows COVID-19 procedures accounted for over $40 million in insurance payments to Oregon hospitals in 2021.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 6:33 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - New data released Friday by the Oregon Health Authority shows COVID-19 related procedures accounted for more than $40 million in commercial insurance payments to Oregon hospitals in 2021.

According to the report, some hospitals received much more than others.

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Two common procedures mentioned by the OHA report are remdesivir, an antiviral medication, and monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-grown proteins designed to help the immune system. During the pandemic, health experts looked to these treatments as life-saving measures.

According to the OHA report, the median statewide payment for remdesivir was $5,506 per day per patient day in 2021.

For monoclonal antibodies, the median payment from insurance companies was $748 per day in 2021 per patient.

Looking at remdesivir cost data, the highest insurance payout was to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria which was paid $8,853 a day per patient. On the other hand, hospitals like Providence Portland Medical Center were only paid $4,210 dollars per day per patient.

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For monoclonal antibody costs, the report found some of the hospitals that received the highest payments were Providence Portland at over $1,000 a day, Sky Lakes Medical Center at $938 per day, and OHSU Hospital at $934 per day. On the lower end, Harney District Hospital, Grande Ronde Hospital, and Asante Ashland Community Hospital were all paid under $500 a day.

The report notes that the variance in payment amounts within a hospital is due to different co-payment and deductible amounts paid by patients, in addition to the different levels of illness severity among patients. The hospitals negotiated payment rate with the insurance companies is a factor as well.

The full report can be found here.