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Will health insurance premiums increase for unvaccinated people? | VERIFY

Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA, will health insurance premiums increase for people who choose to remain unvaccinated?
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, Grace John, who works at a school in San Lorenzo, gets a COVID-19 shot at a mobile vaccination clinic run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state in Hayward, Calif. California will become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The statewide vaccine mandate for K-12 educators comes as schools return from summer break amid growing concerns of the highly contagious delta variant. (AP Photo/Terry Chea, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Now that the coronavirus vaccine is readily available, and FDA approved, employers have more wiggle room to institute penalties and incentives when it comes to the vaccination status of their employees.

But will the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine impact the price of care for those who are willfully choosing not to get the vaccine?

THE QUESTION:

Will health insurance premiums increase for unvaccinated individuals?

THE ANSWER: 

No, health care premiums will not go up just because someone is unvaccinated but you may need to talk to your employer about possible changes to your health care plan.

THE SOURCES:

  • Krutika Amin, Associate Director at the  Kaiser Family Foundation for the Program on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Amin conducts economic and policy research on the ACA and its effects on private insurers and enrollees.

Here's what we found out:

As the vaccine becomes more widely available, insurers have started phasing out cost-sharing waivers for COVID-19 treatment.

“As more waivers expire, more people hospitalized with COVID, the vast majority of which are unvaccinated will likely receive more medical bills,” Amin said.

And employers like Delta Airlines have announced that unvaccinated employees could face a $200 monthly surcharge on their health insurance.

"Employers, through wellness programs, can impose a higher cost on people who are unvaccinated outside of the health plan. Employers can provide incentives and penalties to their employees,” Amin said.

But can insurance companies charge higher premiums for the unvaccinated like they can for a smoking status?

“The Affordable Care Act and other federal laws prohibit insurers from charging more for people who are not vaccinated. But employers through incentive programs may and can increase people’s cost if they are unvaccinated,” Amin said.

We can verify that no, health insurance will not go up for the unvaccinated but you may need to check with your employer about any changes to your health care plan.

Continue the conversation with Monica on Facebook.

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