The pressure for U.S citizens to get the COVID19 vaccination is increasing and is expected to rise further as some insurance companies pronounced that they will not cover the entire medical costs for those unvaccinated people who might end up in the hospital due to COVID19.
Just two months ago, major companies started to require their workers to get vaccinated by providing incentives. Other companies are doing the same.
The hospital expenses and treatment for people who will be hospitalized may be massive especially if they are required to stay longer in the facilities. Recently, some health insurance companies pronounced that they would require their clients to share hospital expenses with them. This is something that hasn’t happened before.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, health insurance companies did cover the entire cost for their clients’ medical treatment. But, this policy is anticipated to change since vaccines against the COVID19 virus are widely available, especially after the FDA gave full approval for the Pfizer vaccine.
For some experts, this move is reasonable, but for others, they completely disagree since the profits for most insurance companies massively increase when the pandemic started because people did not ask for medical help because they were scared to go to the hospitals, and surgeries and other medical treatments were postponed or delayed which resulted with lower costs for the insurance companies.
“Health insurance companies were spending so much less than expected because during a 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.
More than 70% of medical insurance companies are now implementing and mandating their clients who are have not yet received the COVID19 vaccine to cover part of their medical treatment if in case they end up hospitalized due to the virus. Another 10% of insurance companies are also looking to change their policies and might implement this new change as well.
In a recent CDC report, people who have not received vaccination shots are 29 times more likely to end up in the hospital if they contract the COVID19 virus compared to those who are already fully vaccinated. Looking at these numbers, the decision of some insurance companies to anticipate shared-cost with their unvaccinated clients covering parts of their medical expenses is justified.
However, patients who might end up hospitalized due to the virus won’t be fully responsible for the entire cost of their treatment, which is expected to reach $50,000 for severe cases. Those patients who are fully insured and have been hospitalized with pneumonia, which includes the same treatment for people with COVID19, normally end up paying around $1, 300.
“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 following months will show if the recent policies affected a specific number of clients to these insurance companies. Another thing that we will be seeing is how this change will affect their profits.
In general, this change will add pressure to people who are vaccine-hesitant and might just get the shot as soon as they can.