A new study published in BMC Primary Care has revealed that the cost of primary care for individuals with long-COVID diagnoses and persistent symptoms was 43% higher among nonhospitalized adults in the United Kingdom. This research, led by University of Birmingham researchers, analyzed data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink Aurum primary care database to estimate additional costs and risk factors associated with long-term COVID-19 symptoms.
The study included 472,173 COVID-19 survivors and an equal number of matched uninfected participants, using data from January 2020 to April 2021. The researchers found that there were 3,871 cases of long-COVID and 30,174 cases of symptomatic long-COVID. The patients in the study were on average 44 years old, with 55% being women, 64% White, and 55% overweight or obese.
According to the findings of this study, primary care visits among COVID-19 survivors were 22.7% higher than those among unexposed participants, with subgroups such as DLC and SLC having even higher visit rates and incremental costs per patient. The annual incremental cost of primary care for long-COVID was £2.44 ($3.06) per patient and £23,382,452 ($29.3 million) nationally. Phone consultations represented over 60% of the total costs in all groups, with the highest costs among long-COVID patients.
The authors of this study have identified several risk factors that increase costs for primary care patients with long-COVID diagnoses: older age, female sex, obesity, White race