The coronavirus pandemic, which has suppressed health care inflation amid a tumble in elective procedures, is making the cost outlook for the coming year more difficult to predict than usual, according to PwC.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, health insurers reaped significant savings as patients put off elective surgeries that are more lucrative for doctors and hospitals. The shift has resulted in a significant number of premium savings, even as the insurers continue to cover coronavirus tests, inpatient visits and telehealth sessions that have replaced in-person primary care.
While those savings are also being seen in employer-sponsored plans, ongoing coronavirus uncertainty — especially with the resurgence in cases around the country — are likely to impact how risk actuaries calculate costs as premium rate-setting gets under way for 2021.
“You’re going to have a testing question, you’re going to have a vaccine question, you’re going to have a question around