Most Americans might not be at risk of losing their job if they don’t get vaccinated against Covid, but some could soon be charged a health insurance ‘surcharge’ of up to $50 a month for not taking the ‘jab’, under new plans being considered by U.S. employers. MailOnline has the story.
Wade Symons, an Employee Benefits Attorney and Partner at the New York-based consulting firm Mercer, wrote in a blog post on Thursday that a number of employers are exploring the option.
“The rationale for adding a surcharge to health insurance contributions for unvaccinated employees is seen as similar to that for a tobacco-use surcharge,” Symons wrote.
“If an employee is unvaccinated and contracts a Covid infection, that creates higher claims costs, which can impact the employer’s bottom line, and mean higher future contributions for other employees,” he added.
Mercer is not revealing the names of the companies that are exploring the surcharge option, but Symons told Forbes that [the] amount of the surcharge being discussed with these employers is similar to the $20 to $50 a month charges companies already charge workers who smoke cigarettes.
The possibility of higher insurance premiums for the unvaccinated was also recently explored in a New York Times guest essay that noted: “Getting hospitalised with Covid in the United States typically generates huge bills.”
While most insurers waived patient payments such as copays and deductibles for Covid hospitalisations last year, now that vaccines are available, many are rolling back that policy, reasoning that hospitalisations are largely preventable. …
“The surcharge approach is intended to cause employees to change behavior voluntarily,” [Symons] wrote. “Employers are looking for options, but with labor shortages, vaccine mandates may remain a bridge too far.”
Although plans for insurance surcharges are still under consideration, other financial incentives have already been implemented by employers, including paid time off for those who get the vaccine.
Other employers are taking a firmer line, with Google and Facebook announcing that vaccines will be mandatory for all employees.
Worth reading in full.