The estimated average cost of a hospital stay for COVID-19 is approximately $23,100, about three times more than for a heart attack and almost as much as a kidney transplant. This includes both intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU admissions in Canada (excluding Quebec, whose data was not included) according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
People who have COVID-19 remain in the hospital about twice as long as the average pneumonia patient (15 days and 7 days, respectively), and a larger proportion of them are admitted to the ICU and ventilated. The estimated total cost of COVID-19 hospital stays was almost $1 billion in 2020–2021, tripling between November 2020 and March 2021. Hospitalization with ICU admission is estimated to cost over $50,000 – more than 3 times the cost of a stay without ICU admission ($15,000).
“COVID-19 patients tend to be sicker and to have longer hospital stays. The data reinforces that the virus can cause a serious illness and not simply a bad flu” said CIHI’s Nathalie Robertson. “Almost 1 in 4 hospitalized COVID-19 patients are admitted to the ICU and 1 in 5 die in the facility.”
Before the pandemic began, Canadian hospitals (excluding Quebec and Nunavut) spent more than $55 billion in 2019–2020, with compensation the largest spending area at 64%, followed by supplies (11%).
The report looked at the cost of some 42,000 COVID hospitalizations in Canada, excluding Quebec.