A recent study published in BMC Primary Care has revealed that the diagnosis of long-COVID and its associated long-term symptoms among nonhospitalized adults can result in a 43% and 44% increase in primary care costs in the United Kingdom. The research, led by University of Birmingham researchers, analyzed data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink Aurum primary care database to estimate additional primary care costs and risk factors for persistent 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. Out of these patients, there were 3,871 cases of long-COVID and 30,174 cases of symptomatic long-COVID. The average age of the participants was 44 years old, with 55% being women, 64% being White, and 55% being overweight or obese.
The study found that primary care visits among COVID-19 survivors were 22.7% higher than those among unexposed participants. The DLC and SLC subgroups had 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.
According to the study authors, older age, female sex, obesity, White race, chronic conditions