The real costs of a pandemic are being realized in a way that no one ever imagined.
And, if the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are any indication, the true costs could exceed $1 trillion over the course of a decade.
It’s a figure that, if it’s accurate, would be the highest in the history of modern health care spending.
But it’s also a staggering number that, when combined with the billions spent on research and development, means the actual costs of the pandemic will probably never be fully known.
And it’s not just the money being spent that’s a problem.
The cost of the virus has been projected to grow as the pandemics progresses, so the real costs could easily be much higher.
According to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the real cost could rise by about $1,200 per person per year in 2040.
That’s because, unlike many other diseases, which tend to affect a broader geographic area, the virus can spread in a particular part of the country, like the Midwest, and it’s difficult for hospitals to diagnose outbreaks.
The CDC also reports that the real-world costs of treating patients will likely exceed $2,000 per person by 2040, and that the actual cost of treating an individual could reach $2.5 trillion.
These numbers could lead to some of the largest health care bills in history, according to the New York Times.
“The real cost for a person will go up, the actual medical costs will go down, and the actual health care costs will continue to increase,” said Dr. Mark Freedman, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University.
“And that is a real cost.”
So, what will the real health costs look like if this trend continues?
And how much will we actually pay in health care for the rest of this decade and beyond?
Let’s take a look.
What do the real numbers say about the true cost of this pandemic?
According to the CDC, the cost of an individual infected with the virus could range anywhere from $1 to $20,000.
And that’s not all.
According the Centers of Disease Control, an infected person with the disease will cost taxpayers $1.2 trillion over 10 years, or about $10,000 for each person infected.
This means that, for the first decade of this century, the full cost of dealing with the coronaviruses spread would probably be around $1 billion per person.
But that figure is still only a fraction of the actual spending.
According a study published in the journal PLOS One, the CDC estimates that the full costs of all the medical and nursing expenses associated with the pandems spread would be somewhere between $1 and $5 trillion by 2034.
And the real spending could be even higher.
In the study, researchers calculated the true value of healthcare spending for people infected with either coronaviral or pneumococcal disease, which affects around one in every 10,000 Americans.
These costs would average $6,000 to $10.000 per capita, depending on the individual.
But these numbers are still far from accurate, according the researchers.
“We can’t really say for sure that this is a true cost, because we don’t have good numbers on the true [costs],” said Dr, Matthew C. Condon, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland who was not involved in the study.
“But it is a plausible estimate that, even with the current costs, the potential cost of pandemic is likely to exceed $10 trillion by the end of the decade.”
What would that mean for you?
You’ll be paying a premium for health care coverage, but will you be getting a better deal than you would have without it?
In a word, no.
The study estimates that if the current rate of infection continues, there will be a gap of more than $1 million between the current level of health insurance premiums and the cost you’ll be forced to pay in 2034 due to rising healthcare costs.
But there’s a better way to look at the numbers.
According it, the average cost of insurance for an individual with a COVID-19 diagnosis will be about $2 to $6 million in 2036, based on the same assumptions used by the researchers in the PLOS study.
But this estimate assumes that the new pandemic would continue to spread as long as there was a current level at which COVIDs were spreading, so there is a high likelihood that it will continue.
So, even if you have insurance, the costs you pay in the coming decade will be more than twice the cost that you would be paying today.
In other words, if you buy a policy in 2026, you’re paying more than you’d have in 2024.
But if you purchase insurance in 2032, you’ll pay less than you do now.This