Can insurers charge you higher premiums if you don’t get the vaccine?
LEE COUNTY, FL – Local experts have said your insurance company can’t charge you more money because you choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers in some states may charge you higher premiums based on factors such as your age or whether you are a smoker. Some people have asked why the same is not true if you have not protected yourself against a virus that has caused a pandemic, filled hospital beds and put the general public at risk.
Stone Insurance Specialist President Heather Stone said there were several reasons.
“Number one, it’s a HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] violation, ”Stone said. “Number two, these questions just don’t figure in an application in traditional guaranteed health insurance policies. “
But your insurer could do the opposite: reward you for choosing to be vaccinated, like other preventative health measures you can take.
“Insurance companies have been saying for years that if you get your flu shot, you know, we’ll give you some kind of incentive,” Stone said. “They also said, if you’re going to take your annual exam, we’ll give you an incentive as well.”
Florida Gulf Coast University economist Victor Claar said another big reason insurance companies wouldn’t penalize the unvaccinated is that they value your business.
“Insurance companies really don’t want to increase your premiums unless they are because they want to keep you as a customer and they don’t want you to shop,” Claar said.
Thinking back to the example of higher insurance rates for smokers in some states, Claar said there are years and years of data to justify the risk associated with smoking and how to charge for that risk. With COVID, there is none.
“We don’t have decades of data that helps us quantify, in monetary terms, how much more expensive it is to have someone in the insurance pool who is not vaccinated compared to someone who the east, ”Claar said.
Claar said there was also the issue of your constitutional rights.
“It could require a challenge to the Supreme Court,” he said. “It might even require an act of Congress to make this legally possible in an honest and direct manner and also responsible and legal.”