Should Iowa's unvaxxed pay a COVID-19 surcharge?
Iowa employers may soon roll out new vaccine sticks and carrots to employees, Drake University professor Denise Hill told Axios Wednesday.
Why it matters: A COVID surcharge for unvaccinated workers — or insurance incentives for those who are vaxxed — could boost Iowa vaccination rates and help save lives. And it'll either cost or spare you money.
State of play: Roughly a third of Iowa's adults are not yet fully vaccinated, and hospitalizations have been increasing in recent weeks.
By the numbers: The average COVID-19 hospitalization costs about $20K, according to estimates from the Peterson Center on Healthcare and Kaiser Family Foundation.
- The preventable cost to the U.S. health system was $2.3 billion in June and July, the center concluded.
Last week, Delta Air Lines became the first big employer in the U.S. to impose a surcharge on unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company's health care plan. ($200 a month, starting Nov. 1.)
- The Iowa Insurance Division is not yet aware of any employers seeking to take similar actions, spokesperson Chance McElhaney told Axios.
Between the lines: Federal laws generally prohibit premium discrimination based on health status but employers with self-insured plans like Delta's have more flexibility to pursue surcharges, Hill said.
- Premium or cost-sharing incentives — like those offered to employees who get an annual physical — are more likely, Hill said.
More Des Moines stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.