Hospital and other medical treatment for COVID-19 costs $14,573 per patient on average and coronavirus testing is about $102 per sample, according to a new report focusing on Wisconsin by Madison-based M3 Insurance.

The company's COVID-19 Impact on Health Care report, released Thursday, Sept. 24, is a supplement to its annual Health Care Trend Report, which came out in August. That report said health insurance premiums went up an average of 4.8% this year in the state, the third-lowest increase since the report started in 2004.

COVID-19 has led many employers to be more mindful of their expenses, but 68% of M3 customers surveyed in July said they don't anticipate making changes to health benefits because of the pandemic, according to the new report. Some 4% percent said they plan to make changes and 28% said they weren't sure.

While some employers have experienced higher than normal health care costs because of the pandemic, many saw member usage drop in the first half of the year, the new report said.

The overall annual health benefit cost per employee this year is $13,657, up from $13,559 last year but down from $13,727 in 2018, the August report said.

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The cost per employee this year is $18,083 for public-sector workers and $12,335 for the private sector. M3 Insurance clients include a smaller share of public-sector workers in the Madison area than in other parts of the state.

Public-sector employees are paying an average of $118 per month for single coverage this year, down from $126 last year, and $248 for a family plan, down from $256.

Private-sector workers are paying an average of $183 per month for single coverage this year, up from $178 last year, and $657 for a family plan, up from $577.

Plans with high deductibles — $1,400 or more — account for 64% of M3 customer plan designs this year, up from 58.8% last year and 26% in 2013.

The report is based on data for more than 2,000 benefit plans among more than 1,000 employers, most based in Wisconsin.


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