The Cost Of Being Unvaccinated Just Went Up — Most Insurers Are Passing Costs Back To Patients As Covid Hospitalizations Soar

Many Covid-19 patients are now facing higher bills due to high-quality coronavirus vaccines being available and rising hospital admissions. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, most insurance companies have stopped waiving out-of-pocket costs. This will primarily affect the people who are more likely to need hospital treatment.

Before treating patients in a Covid-19 ICU, healthcare workers must wear personal protective equipment. 2021 Bloomberg Finance LP

The Key Facts

The vast majority of private insurers waived out-of pocket costs for Covid-19 treatment earlier in the pandemic. This meant that 88% of those with insurance would have been completely unable to pay for hospitalization. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation research, there is no federal mandate that insurers waive these costs. There are also few regulations at the state level requiring them to. The vast majority of these patients have passed these costs on to their insurance companies. KFF found that nearly three quarters of the largest health plans in each state (72%) are now paying out-of-pocket expenses, including copays, and paying towards deductibles for Covid-19 treatment to patients. KFF stated that 62% of fully insured individuals and groups are represented by the 102 providers they studied. Nearly half of the insurance companies studied had ended waivers by April. This is approximately when all adults became eligible for vaccines. The majority of people still eat the costs. Two plans (around 2%) have waivers that expire in March 2022, while five (around 5%) do not indicate when they will expire.

Important Background

Although most coronavirus tests and Covid-19 vaccines are free, Americans with coronavirus can still have to pay for their care. Although comprehensive coverage is available, there are still deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Many hospitalized patients have been surprised by unexpected bills that were large upon their discharge. Many people will soon be paying bills for treatment due to the increase in Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and waivers. There are new waivers available. Some of them expire in October. They are tied to the end of the federal Public Health Emergency. However, this is unlikely considering the availability of vaccines that are extremely effective in preventing serious illness or hospitalization. Many people believe that vaccine-refusers should be required to pay more for health insurance. Employers are also reportedly looking at raising their premiums in order to encourage employees to get the shot. According to polling, Americans are evenly divided on this issue. Nearly half (49%) support charging employers more for insurance. 73% of those opposed were not vaccinated.


Only half of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The majority of people who are hospitalized for the infection have not been vaccinated. Nearly all those who have died from Covid-19 are not vaccinated. However, not all people are eligible for vaccination. Hospitals are flooded with records-breaking numbers of children and young adults who are now infected.

Big Number

$1,644. KFF reports that this is the average deductible for an employer's health plan. Workers at smaller firms (less than 200 employees) paid an average of $2,295.

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Private insurers no longer waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment (KFF).

Some insurance companies have ended waivers for Covid treatment fees. (NBCNews).

Alabama surpasses Florida in Child Covid-19 Hospitalizations after Admissions Jump 300% in One Week (Forbes).

The Atlantic: How the Pandemic Ends

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