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Coronavirus US: Healthcare revenue falls by nearly HALF

Healthcare revenue falls by nearly HALF across the US during the pandemic after Americans avoided hospitals for fear of catching COVID-19

  • Researchers found that healthcare revenue saw a 48% decrease in April 2020 compared to the same time last year
  • Professional health services were also used 68% less during the coronavirus pandemic from 2019
  • Oral surgery and gastroenterology saw the biggest drops with the former seeing a 92% drop in revenue in April from in-network visits
  • Drops likely occurred due to Americans fearing they or their children might get coronavirus during a doctor’s visit and fewer physicians’ offices being open
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Revenue for healthcare was cut by nearly half across the US amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a new report finds.

FAIR Health, a nonprofit that collects data of privately billed health insurance claims, found that revenues declined 48 percent compared to April 2019 nationally.

Utilization, meaning how much professional services were used, also saw a decrease of 68 percent in April 2020 compared to the same time last year.

The drops were likely due to Americans fearing they or their children might get coronavirus during a doctor’s visit and fewer physicians’ offices being open. 

Researchers from FAIR Health found that healthcare revenue saw a 48% decrease in April 2020 (far right) compared to the same time last year

Researchers from FAIR Health found that healthcare revenue saw a 48% decrease in April 2020 (far right) compared to the same time last year

Oral surgery and gastroenterology saw the biggest drops with the former seeing a 92% drop in revenue in April from in-network visits (right)

Oral surgery and gastroenterology saw the biggest drops with the former seeing a 92% drop in revenue in April from in-network visits (right)

Drops likely occurred due to Americans fearing they or their children might get coronavirus during a doctor's visit and fewer physicians' offices being open. Pictured: Nurses care for a coronavirus patient in the ICU  at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, California, May 21

Drops likely occurred due to Americans fearing they or their children might get coronavirus during a doctor’s visit and fewer physicians’ offices being open. Pictured: Nurses care for a coronavirus patient in the ICU  at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, California, May 21

For the report, FAIR Health looked at data for claims submitted though the end of May for appointments in January 2020 through April 2020.

Then they looked at claims submitted through the same months of 2019. 

Researchers focused on claims for seven specialities: adult primary care, cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, oral surgery, orthopedics and pediatric primary care.

The biggest decreases were seen among oral surgery and gastroenterology.  

In March 2020, utilization of oral surgery declined by 80 percent and revenue from in-network visits fell by 84 percent.   

One month later, in April 2020, oral surgery utilization decreased by 81 percent and revenue by 92 percent.  

However, a procedure specifically for telehealth-telephone in oral surgery climbed from the 131-most used in January 2020 to the most used in April 2020. 

Results showed that gastroenterology had the second largest decreases in utilization and revenue for both March 2020 and April 2020.

The smallest declines were seen in pediatric primary care with decreases for in-network revenue falling by 35 percent. 

Meanwhile, adult primary care had the smallest reduction in March 2020 revenue by about 47 percent.

Of all regions across the country, the Northeast experienced the biggest decline in both categories. 

Comparing March 2019 to March 2020 the utilization of professional services fell by 60 percent and revenue declined by 55 percent. 

This is likely due to states like New York and New Jersey, which were among the hardest hit during the early days of the pandemic, being in this region. 

‘As with past studies in our COVID-19 series, we again use FAIR Health’s vast data repository to illuminate the impact of the pandemic,’ said Robin Gelburd, president of the organization, in a statement.

‘We hope this report will be useful to stakeholders throughout the healthcare sector, including providers, payers, policy makers and researchers.’ 

In the US, there are more than 1.9 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 111,000 deaths. 

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