Wait! You mean we can raise insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees?


Image by Brett Hondow from Pixabay

Earlier in the week, you may have heard the news about a company assessing unvaccinated employees a $200 surcharge to offset the rising costs of health insurance attributable to COVID-19.

On Wednesday, I spoke with 6abc Action News about the, err, news. Jon Hyman covered it yesterday on his blog, and SHRM has more on the story here.

We know that the EEOC permits employers to incentivize COVID-19 vaccinations. If the employer administers vaccines, then the incentive cannot be so substantial as to be coercive. However,  there are no incentive caps if the employees go to a third party, like a local pharmacy, for the vaccine.

But what about using a stick instead of a carrot? For sure, an insurance surcharge on the unvaccinated does provide an incentive to get a COVID-19 jab. But, legally, the waters are uncharted.

The EEOC has not specifically addressed an insurance surcharge on the unvaccinated. The Affordable Care Act allows for a tobacco surcharge. But, there’s nothing in the ACA, which became law during the Obama Administration, about COVID-19 surcharges. And might there be HIPAA and privacy issues too?

Rather than turn this into a 10,000-word post with deep analysis here, I’m going to add links to some topical articles below:

If you want even more information, then hang out with me on September 1, 2021, at Noon EDT on Zoom, where I’ll present “Everything HR Ever Wanted to Know about Mandating COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace“ with my partners, Amy Epstein GluckDavid Renner, and Sid Steinberg.

The one-hour session is completely free. I imagine that we’ll cover insurance surcharges as an alternative to mandatory vaccinations. But, we’ll also explore other thorny mandatory vaccine issues such as religious accommodations, booster shots, getting proof of vaccination, and privacy rights. We’ll include some Q&A time too.

Just don’t expect to receive any legal advice; we get paid for that.

You and all of your friends can register here. But hurry up! Space is limited.


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