Unvaccinated Say Premium Surcharge Could Prompt Change of Heart

Sept. 16, 2021, 4:57 PM

An extra monthly fee for health insurance could coax most unvaccinated workers into getting a Covid-19 vaccine, according to a survey released Thursday.

Nearly three-quarters of 1,000 participants surveyed between Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 said an extra monthly fee for health insurance could motivate them to get the vaccine. The survey was conducted by Affordable Health Insurance, a health insurance consultant based in Hartford, Conn.

Delta Air Lines’s adoption of a $200 monthly surcharge Aug. 25 has prompted many companies to consider similar action to push recalcitrant employees to get vaccinated. President Joe Biden on Sept. 9 said his administration would issue rules requiring large private employers to mandate shots or testing.

Delta said its surcharge, which it said prompted a five-fold increase in the number of workers getting Covid vaccinations, helps pay for the cost of hospitalizing employees for Covid and protects staff and customers from unvaccinated employees.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed, who were unvaccinated workers with employer-sponsored health insurance, said an extra monthly fee for health insurance would persuade them to get vaccinated. Another 25% answered “maybe.”

Meanwhile, 63% said charging just $100 a month extra would be enough to convince them.

People with higher income said they were more likely to avoid the surcharge by getting the shot, and 58% of Democrats said the surcharge would spur them to get vaccinated, while only 36% of Republican respondents said it would.

Major companies are also using other requirements to encourage employees to get vaccinated. In the survey, 53% said a mask mandate could motivate them to get vaccinated, and 56% said losing paid time off for quarantining after a positive test result could do so.

Fifty-six percent said they’ve felt pressure from their employer to get vaccinated, and 55% have felt “pressure or judgment” from coworkers, according to the survey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Hansard in Washington at shansard@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brent Bierman at bbierman@bloomberglaw.com

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