You May Pay More For These Unless You're Vaccinated
COVID-19 has cost all of us something. In best-case scenarios, that cost was only convenience and some mobility. For others, the physical and mental costs have been more profound. For a while, this was unavoidable. But now that effective vaccines exist, the balance has shifted. COVID-19 has now largely become a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," and the unvaccinated are being asked to bear a greater share of the expenses they're perpetuating. These are six things you may pay more for, unless you're vaccinated. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
This week, Delta Airlines announced that starting Nov. 1, employees who don't get vaccinated against COVID will have to pay $200 per month to remain on the company's health insurance plan. "This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company," CEO Ed Bastian told The New York Times. "In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with Covid were not fully vaccinated." The average coronavirus-related hospitalization has cost the company about $50,000 per person, he said. This month, Forbes reported that several other companies are preparing similar health-insurance surcharges, which parallel longtime penalties for smokers.
If you haven't gotten your shot and come down with COVID-19, you may pay more for your treatment, depending on your insurance coverage. "In 2020, before COVID-19 vaccines, most major private insurers waived patient payments — from coinsurance to deductibles — for COVID-19 treatment," Kaiser Health News reported earlier this month. "But many if not most have allowed that policy to lapse. Aetna, for example, ended that policy Feb. 28; UnitedHealthcare began rolling back its waivers late last year and ended them by the end of March."
This month, West Virginia Wesleyan College announced a nonrefundable $750 fee for unvaccinated students, while Birmingham–Southern College in Alabama—prevented from requiring vaccinations by state law—said it would charge all of its students a $500 fee this fall to cover the cost of weekly testing and quarantining. Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, will fine unvaccinated students up to $2,275 in the fall semester, according to the Hartford Courant. Students who aren't fully vaccinated by September 14 will be charged $100 a week and lose WiFi access.
Last month, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it would require unvaccinated passengers to pay $150 for covid-19 testing and to buy travel insurance. Royal Caribbean had previously said it would require unvaccinated passengers to carry a minimum travel insurance policy of $25,000 to cover medical expenses, plus a $50,000 policy to cover quarantine and evacuation expenses. The new rules come in response to a new Florida law banning "vaccine passports"—companies are now subject to fines of $5,000 per instance if they require customers to provide proof of vaccination.
Also subject to the Florida law banning vaccine passports, one concert promoter came up with a creative way to get around it: He set ticket prices to a June punk rock show at $18 for the vaccinated and $999.99 for the unvaccinated. "We're just trying to do a show safely, and they should go out and get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families and their community," he told WFTS News in Tampa Bay.
"We are NOT telling you what to do here, we are making a business decision and letting the market decide," the ticketing page read. "If someone wants to come in unvaccinated, they will scare off a large number of patrons and will need to pay the difference."
Playing in the NFL
ETNT Health's large audience of professional football players, beware: The National Football League announced late last month that unvaccinated players will be fined $14,650 per instance for violating mask rules or other requirements that don't apply to vaccinated players. Additionally, teams were warned that if a game has to be canceled because of an outbreak among unvaccinated players and can't be rescheduled, the team with the outbreak will forfeit that game.
How to Stay Healthy
So follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.