Employers Eye Vaccination-Based Insurance Premiums

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17 percent

The Balance

That’s the share of companies thinking about charging employees different amounts for health insurance based on whether or not they’re vaccinated against COVID-19, a new survey shows.

Of the 961 U.S. employers surveyed by Willis Towers Watson in late August, just 3% had already decided on a vaccination-based health insurance discount or surcharge, but another 17% were at least considering it, the consulting and advisory firm said Wednesday. The companies combined employ 9.7 million workers.

The results show employers are focused on getting employees vaccinated against COVID-19, especially since the emergence of the delta variant, said Dr. Jeff Levin-Scherz, population health leader at Willis Towers Watson. In some cases, the surcharge is being added because of the cost of hospitalizing an employee with COVID-19. For instance, Delta Air Lines announced last week that unvaccinated employees will have to pay a $200 surcharge each month to be part of its account-based health care plan.

The airline had already offered incentives—including extra time off and cash prizes—in lieu of a vaccine mandate, but said the surcharge would help get vaccination rates among employees even higher. 

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