Unvaccinated face complete pressure to get the shot as insurance companies will not cover medical bills completely if they end up in hospital

The pressure for vaccination is rising and the process will probably not be going to slow down anytime soon. With president Joe Biden announcing that the White House administration will require federal workers to get vaccinated in multiple occasions, now some insurance companies decided not to cover all the medical expenses if unvaccinated person ends up in hospital for treatment as a result of the Covid-19.

The pressure for vaccination was initially started by some of the major companies in the last two months when they started to require their employees to get the shot following a period of incentives for workers who decided to get vaccinated. Tens of companies now followed the same path.

The cost of potential medical treatment might reach enormous numbers in some cases if a patient is required to stay longer in hospital for treatment. As of recently, some health insurance companies will require their clients to share that cost with them, something that hasn’t been seen in the past, ever.

Health insurances companies covered the complete cost for a medical treatment since the start of the pandemic. However, the policy is expected to change since the vaccines against the virus are now widely available and everyone should be safety-aware and take the shot especially after FDA gave a full approval of the Pfizer vaccine last Monday.

For some experts, the latest decision is somewhat justified, but for others is completely nonsense since the profits of the insurance companies have insanely increased since the start of the pandemic because of the fact that many people didn’t ask for medical help, surgeries and treatments were cancelled or prolonged resulting with lower expenses for the insurance companies.

“Health insurance companies were spending so much less than expected because during pandemic. No one went to the hospital, elective procedures were delayed and insurers had more money than they were supposed to,” said Matthew Rae, director for the Program on the Health Care Marketplace at KFF.

Whether we like it or not, more than 70% of the medical insurance companies are now requiring their unvaccinated clients to cover part of the medical treatment if they end up in hospital to be treated from the virus. And another 10% of the insurance companies are headed the same way, looking to switch their policies too.

According to a recent CDC report, the unvaccinated are 29x times more likely to end up with hospitalization if they get infected the virus compared to the fully vaccinated. Taking these numbers into consideration, it’s reasonable for the health insurance companies to expect their unvaccinated clients to cover part of the medical expenses if needed.

Still, patients won’t be responsible for the full cost of treatment, which can reach up to $50,000 for a severe case. Fully insured patients hospitalized with pneumonia — which involves similar treatment as for people with COVID-19 — typically end up owing around $1,300, for example.

“The cost of hospitalization for COVID-19 is tens of thousands of dollars, but most people admitted to hospital, even if they’re paying cost-sharing, are only responsible for a fraction of that. It’s not like they’re hit with a big bill,” Rae said.

The upcoming months will show how the most recent policies will affect the number of clients to these insurance companies and what is even more important for them, how this will affect their profits. One thing is for sure, the vaccine hesitant are facing more and more pressure to get the shot as soon as possible.

Cindy Carey


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