One of New York state’s largest workers’ compensation insurers says it paid an average of $17,400 in lost wages and medical costs per person who met its long COVID criteria.
The dollar figures are just part of an emerging picture of how the illness is impacting not just patients, but their employers and the wider labor market.
In a new report released by the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF), the organization called COVID-19 an “underappreciated reason for the many unfilled jobs and the declining labor participation rate since the emergence of the pandemic.”
In total, the insurer reported it covered claims for 977 people due to long COVID, 18% of whom were unable to return to work for more than a year. Most were less than 60 years old.
“It’s a pretty conservative estimate,” the organization’s executive director and chief executive officer, Gaurav Vasisht, JD, told The New York Times . “It’s not capturing people who may have gone back to work and didn’t seek medical attention and may still be suffering, so you know, they’re just toughing it out.”
The challenges of long COVID go beyond medical symptoms or dollar figures, he said.
“The longer you’re out of work, the harder it is for you to get back to work, and that can stigmatize patients,” Vasisht said. “It could be highly disruptive to their family and professional lives.”
The analysis included claims data from January 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022.
The report is the first in a series from the NYSIF.
Claims data will be compiled “to help enhance researchers’ and policymakers’ understanding of this complex condition,” the report explained. “We hope the information will assist experts in considering possible policy solutions to help Covid survivors cope with and manage long-term symptoms.”
New York State Insurance Fund: “Shining A Light On Long COVID: An Analysis of Workers’ Compensation Data.”
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