A handful of states—Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia—still require that insurance companies waive cost sharing for covid-19. In some cases that includes pathologies with similar symptoms (such as pneumonia, or a severe flu) to encourage people experiencing respiratory illnesses to seek care, without the fear of a large bill if their illness didn’t turn out to be covid-19. But everywhere else in the country, patients are paying for treatment.

The report looked at more than 11,000 patients who had been hospitalized with covid-19 listed as the primary illness between March 2020 and March 2021. The vast majority didn’t pay anything, as they were treated while the waivers were still in place. But starting in early 2021, most patients have shared the cost of treatment, with a median cost of $3,998 per person. People living in western states typically had higher bills, with an average of $4,600 per person, while patients in the northeast spent less, $3,100 on average.

Although calls to return to normal are gaining traction across the political spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 12,000 people a day are hospitalized for covid-19 in the US, and the disease continues to cause more than 2,300 deaths a day.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.