The high degree of specialization and medical care required to treat a patient with COVID-19 has made this virus the most expensive disease according to Mexican insurance companies. The Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions (AMIS) reports that the average treatment for a patient with COVID-19 costs MX$429,615 (US$19,530). “Depending on the illness, medical personnel are equipped differently. The teams that treat COVID-19 patients are highly equipped. Unlike other pathologies, COVID-19 also causes many patients to be admitted into intensive care units, thus doubling the costs,” explained Édgar Karam, Vice President of AMIS, at a press conference. According to Karam, the average cost to treat a COVID-19 patient is double the cost of HIV care (US$9,530) and exceeds the cost of acute respiratory diseases (US$16,630).
So far, Mexican insurers have paid out US$202 million for COVID-19 patients and the forecast by the end of 2020 is that the disease will cost a total of US$300 million. “The final cost is estimated to be as high as US$300 million. It is not such a catastrophic event for the industry but it is for people who are suffering from the disease or who have lost a loved one,” AMIS Vice President Juan Patricio Riveroll told Forbes. Although COVID-19 is now the most expensive disease to treat for these companies, it is still a long way from the most expensive claims of all time in Mexico back in 2005 when Hurricane Wilma forced insurers to pay US$2.29 billion.
At a press conference, AMIS reported that as of Aug. 10, 6,641 cases of COVID-19 had been registered in Mexico by patients with major expense insurance who had claimed MX$2.8 billion (US$127.3 million) from insurers, which have already paid out 62 percent of that amount. Fifty-six percent of these cases have occurred in Mexico City, the State of Mexico and Nuevo Leon. In addition, AMIS also reported that since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 8,267 deaths as a result of the virus, with a cost for insurers of MX$1.6 billion (US$72.7 million) in compensation.
Karam acknowledged that the solution for COVID-19 is the discovery of an effective vaccine, which would result in significant savings for insurers. However, he said that more than benefiting the industry he represents, what AMIS is interested in “is for the population to return to a normal life.”