Thursday, October 1, 2020

COVID-19 Implications on Medical and Pharmacy Utilization

Beneath the mountains of COVID information available detailing hospitalization, deaths, and case counts, Innovu has been mining data to uncover the true impact on American businesses. Most notably over the last few months, it has become clear that there are a number of factors at play that are having, and will continue to have, a significant impact on an employer’s bottom line. Now is the time to pay attention to budget and staffing as organizations move into the fourth quarter and plan for 2021. 

Medical Pharmacy Utilization and Preventative Care

 As of May 2020, Innovu has seen a more than 61% decrease in hospital admissions compared to the same time last year. This supports the assumption that during the coronavirus pandemic, individuals are not seeking medically necessary care. There is a similar decline in elective procedures and preventative services. This lack of care could result in health-related issues down the road that keep employees out of the workplace. Further, as surgeries that have been put off or postponed are now being rescheduled, planned employee time off will be affected and could impact necessary staffing. This is especially important as it has been reported that if surgical volume is increased by 20%, “it will take a median of 45 weeks to clear the backlog of operations.” [1]



Impacts to 2021 Budgets

 As businesses look ahead and budget for 2021, it is vital to understand that historical utilization will be significantly impacted. Due to COVID-19 treatment costs and the unusually large volume of deferred care, there could be a significant impact on a 2021 budget. A marked spike in elective procedures over the next 18 months should be anticipated and planned for. Another prospective budgeting issue to be considered is the possible second wave of COVID-19. Given the unexpected arrival of the virus and the enormous impact on the American economy, all organizations should plan for the possibility of a resurgence and anticipate that impact on their bottom line and staffing needs. 

Live maps available on breakdown the COVID-19 spread across the country. For a more specific breakdown of your state or county, email

Access additional critical insights on the impact of COVID-19 for employers and advisors by visit

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