For Payers, Health System Leaders & Policymakers

The onset of COVID-19 disrupted the existing insurance and health systems industries at national and state levels. How can we best support COVID-19 patients—and now, Long COVID patients—whose symptoms may persist for unknown lengths of time?

Patients have reported being denied claims for symptom treatments that do not fall under “medical necessity.” Purchasing life insurance while navigating Long COVID symptoms may also increase the price of coverage. These unknowns contribute to financial anxiety faced by patients. Payer and clinician groups are also navigating new and sometimes experimental combinations of treatment and how to pay for them. 

On this page, we provide payers, health system leaders and policy makers with the latest information about the impacts of Long COVID on both private and public health insurance, and the patients who access them. We’ll dive into the latest in healthcare policies around Long COVID and hear from the experts about where change is being implemented.

Resources for Payers, Health System Leaders & Policymakers

[UPDATED] The Impact of Long COVID on the Workforce

Recently we posted an article about how Long COVID affects employees and employers. As issues around Long COVID and the workforce continuously emerge, we plan to provide updates to keep the community in the know about the latest data and conversations on this topic. In this post we’ve provide a brief review of recent studies estimating the impact on the labor shortage.

Long COVID and Seniors

By Tamsin Zandstra

As more research becomes available on COVID-19 and Long COVID it is evident that there is a gap in understanding on the implications for the older adult population, defined by Medicare as individuals over the age of 65.

Health Equity + Long COVID: A Conversation with Dr. Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall, PhD, is a Professor of Epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health, and the Founding Director of the People, Place and Health Collective (PPHC) at Brown University. 

Long COVID legislation update

As awareness about Long COVID increases, lawmakers are beginning to propose legislation to increase funding for research and resources for Long COVID. Here are a few examples of recent legislation that has been introduced.

This blog post has been updated to include two reports from August 2022.

Note on the recent NIH Long COVID study

On May 24th, Annals of Internal Medicine published a widely debated study on Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC).  This study, sponsored by the RECOVER COVID Initiative, enrolled 189 people with lab-confirmed COVID and compared them with 120 controls, people never infected with COVID.  This study demonstrated that persistent symptoms after COVID were common, but that abnormal findings on physical examination or diagnostic testing were uncommon.  Another key finding of this study was that women and those with a history of anxiety were at increased risk for PASC. However, these headlines do not tell the whole story and, in fact, may serve to frustrate many Long COVID patients.

Long COVID + workers’ compensation

Workers’ compensation provides medical and monetary benefits for a percentage of lost wages to employees who become sick or injured on the job. The details and regulations vary widely between states; however, workers must typically prove their injury or illness occurred during the course of their employment. For certain illnesses, including COVID-19, this can be particularly challenging.

What is “medium COVID”?

A new term – medium COVID –  has emerged that may add further nuance to Long COVID diagnoses. As the pandemic has progressed, scientists have realized that Long COVID, which was developed in the early stages of the pandemic to broadly encompass the experience of lingering COVID symptoms past the point of what could be considered the acute infection, may be a more complicated diagnosis than originally expected.

Long COVID + Children

Although children often have less severe COVID-19 infections and Long COVID appears to be less common in children, Long COVID can affect any person infected with COVID-19, regardless of age. Long COVID research studying the impact in children and adolescents is still limited. We previously posted an article summarizing research about Long COVID among children. This article provides an update of recent literature on the topic.

[UPDATED] Vaccination + Long COVID

New research out of the UK  suggests that “COVID-19 vaccination is associated with reduced risk of Long COVID.”

Is Long COVID disproportionately impacting women?

Months after the first onset of Lauren Nichols’ COVID-19 symptoms in March of 2020, she still had a laundry list of maladies that seemed to grow by the day: constant migraines, histamine rashes, reproductive issues, fevers, vertigo, and gastrointestinal problems so severe that some days she couldn’t even keep water down. Her neurological issues were so intense that one day, she says she was trapped inside of her shower because she couldn’t remember what the door handle was. Other days, she forgot what her hands were.

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For inquiries related to the Long COVID Initiative, please contact long_covid_initiative@brown.edu