Long COVID: Costs for the German Economy and Health Care and Pension System

The study “Long COVID: Costs for the German Economy and Health Care and Pension System” analyzes the economic impact of long/post-COVID-19 syndrome in Germany for the year 2021.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Background: The study addresses the economic burden of long COVID, defined as health problems persisting for more than four weeks after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, and post-COVID-19 syndrome, which refers to symptoms continuing beyond 12 weeks. These conditions include fatigue, reduced resilience, and possible long-term damage to various organs​​.

Methods: Utilizing secondary data from sources like statutory insurance and federal institutions, the study calculated economic costs based on wage rates, loss of gross value-added (GVA), pension payments (considering disability pensions), and healthcare expenditures related to rehabilitation. It also factored in the proportion of COVID-19 patients undergoing rehabilitation and the average time between infection and rehabilitation start​​.

Results: Key findings include:

  • An estimated production loss of 3.4 billion euros, with a GVA loss of 5.7 billion euros.
  • The financial burden on healthcare and pension systems due to SARS-CoV-2 was approximately 1.7 billion euros.
  • Around 0.4 percent of employees are projected to be wholly or partially withdrawn from the labor market in the medium term due to long/post-COVID-19 syndrome​​.

Discussion: This study highlights the significant economic impact of long/post-COVID on productivity and GVA, contributing to the national economy’s burden. However, the socio-economic burden on the healthcare and pension system doesn’t appear overwhelming. The study points out the need for further monitoring of long/post-COVID cases to inform policymaking. It also discusses the potential impact of long COVID on labor supply and the healthcare system, emphasizing the importance of balancing protective measures against the virus and unrestricted economic activities​​.

Conclusion: Long/post-COVID-19 syndrome results in substantial costs for the German economy, particularly in terms of productivity loss and GVA. While the burden on the healthcare and pension systems due to the syndrome is manageable, it’s crucial to continue monitoring the situation to address the growing problem effectively. The study provides valuable insights into the economic consequences of long COVID, emphasizing the need for strategic planning and policy interventions.

Read More: https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-023-09601-6

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