Unvaccinated people may have to pay more for their health insurance

CLEVELAND (WJW) – You may have to pay more for your health insurance if you aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19.

More and more employers and insurance companies are considering increasing health insurance premiums for employees who choose to forgo vaccination.

Starting in November, Delta Airlines will charge unvaccinated employees an additional $ 200 per month for the company’s health plan, citing the high cost of COVID hospitalizations.

“It’s similar to what’s already happening with smokers,” said Tom Campanella, residential health care executive at Baldwin Wallace University.

Unvaccinated Americans are at a higher risk of developing severe cases of the virus. Data from the Ohio Department of Health shows unvaccinated Ohioans account for more than 96% of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in 2021.

The average hospital amount in the United States for a COVID-19 patient’s stay ranges from $ 34,662 for people ages 23 to 30 to $ 45,683 for people ages 51 to 60, according to a FAIR study Health.

A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that preventable hospitalizations for COVID among unvaccinated Americans cost the health care system nearly $ 6 billion between June and August.

“It all ends up coming back into the bonuses one way or another,” Campanella said. “Someone has to pay this cost.”

Some companies choose to shift the burden of these costs from all employees to those who choose to forgo vaccination.

For companies like Delta, which don’t require employee vaccinations, it may also encourage more employees to get vaccinated.

“Employers see it as an incentive to have their employees vaccinated. I also think it’s an attempt to control some of the costs associated with COVID, ”said Kelly O’Reilly, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Health Plans, the trade association representing 15 healthcare providers. Ohio health insurance.

O’Reilly and Campanella said self-insured businesses can more easily increase premiums for unvaccinated employees.

“I think they’re looking to keep their employees safe, keep their businesses up and running and then cut costs,” O’Reilly said.

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