Many workers have resisted vaccine mandates out of fear or stubbornness about the lack of freedom. These workers — and their opponents — wonder whether or not vaccination will change health insurance premiums. It probably won’t come as a surprise that many companies are punishing workers who decline free vaccines by forcing them to pay more for health insurance benefits.
This push is meant to increase vaccination rates without attracting attention. For example, Delta Airlines said that unvaccinated employees will be charged an extra $200 a month for health insurance. This change started earlier this month.
Is it legal?
Courts will have the ultimate say, of course, but…yes, it is legal. Unvaccinated workers have a higher likelihood of contracting coronavirus and coming down with COVID-19. When they get sick and end up in the hospital, they are at least partially financially protected by their health insurance policies. But because the costs are the result of a personal decision not to receive the vaccine, health insurance providers are much more likely to increase the costs shared by an employer. This is why most employers are completely on board with the vaccination push.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company.”
Many people believe that this is an overreach on the part of governments, employers, and health insurance providers. Law firms have compared the increased premiums for some people to those incurred by new drivers. A 16-year-old driver pays higher premiums than a driver who has been on the road for ten years without an accident. It all comes down to risk.
Other employers have started a new COVID-19 “risk pool” to share the costs with employees. Everyone contributes. When an employee comes down with COVID-19 and misses work, that employee takes funds from the pool — but they’re safe.