A giant health insurer says health plan enrollees who suffered from long COVID-19 symptoms were more than twice as likely as other enrollees to die during a 12-month follow-up period.
Andrea DeVries, a researcher at Elevance Health, and three colleagues found that, during the year studied, 2.8% of the 13,435 enrollees classified as having “post-COVID-19 condition” died, according to a study published in the JAMA Health Forum, which is affiliated with the Journal of the American Medical Association.
That compares with a death rate of just 1.2% for similar enrollees without COVID-19 during the same period.
Elevance Health is the company formerly known as Anthem. The company provides or administers major medical coverage for about 48 million people.
The DeVries looked at claim records for 249,013 Elevance plan enrollees ages and older who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from April 1, 2020, through July 31, 2020 — before regulators had adopted a long COVID diagnosis code.
The team began by identifying enrollees with COVID-19 who had been enrolled in an Elevance plan for at least five months before being diagnosed with COVID-19 and who had survived for at least two months after the diagnosis date.
Because of the lack of a long COVID-19 diagnosis code, the team used claims for other conditions, such as loss of the sense of smell, brain fog, anxiety and heart rate problems, to come up with a list of enrollees with long COVID.
Author(s): Allison Bell
Publication Date: 3 March 2023
Publication Site: Think Advisor