“Some employers are starting to tack on a $20 to $50 monthly surcharge to their unvaccinated workers, according to a health benefits consultant group.
“Employers have tried encouraging employees to get vaccinated through offering incentives like paid time off and cash, but with the Delta variant driving up infections and hospitalizations throughout the country—at the same time that vaccination rates have stalled—we have received inquiries from at least 20 employers over the past few weeks who are giving consideration to adding health coverage surcharges for the unvaccinated as a way to drive up vaccination rates in their workforce,” Wade Symons, with consultancy group Mercer, told Forbes magazine on Aug. 8.
Symons didn’t disclose the names of the firms that are working to add surcharges to workers who haven’t received COVID-19 vaccines…
Symons separately wrote in a column that some employers have held off on vaccine mandates “because of potential employee relations issues that such a move might provoke,” but he added that with the Delta COVID-19 variant and a stall in vaccinations, “health coverage surcharges for the unvaccinated are a tactic employers are reviewing as an alternative to a mandate.
“The rationale for adding a surcharge to health insurance contributions for unvaccinated employees is seen as similar to that for a tobacco-use surcharge,” he wrote. “If an employee is unvaccinated and contracts a COVID-19 infection, that creates higher claims costs, which can impact the employer’s bottom line, and mean higher future contributions for other employees. Beyond plan costs, there are the public health benefits of greater vaccination rates, in addition to workplace safety considerations.”
Somehow, the people creating this rationale have forgotten that the absolute risk reduction of the COVID vaccines is less than 1%, (another source), and that more than half of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID are occurring in fully vaccinated people. Even during the initial vaccine trials, the vaccine did not prevent severe illness or hospitalization.
In the Moderna trial, one participant in the mRNA-1273 group, a participant >65 years of age who had risk factors for severe COVID-19, was hospitalized due to oxygen saturation of 88% on room air 2 months after receiving the second dose of vaccine.” In the Janssen trial, in a post hoc analysis of all COVID-19 related hospitalizations starting 14 days after vaccination, including non-centrally confirmed cases, there were 2 cases in the vaccine group. Likewise, the Pfizer trial reported two serious cases of suspected but unconfirmed COVID-19, both in the vaccine group, where both vaccine recipients were hospitalized.