Delta Dawn, What’s that Surcharge You’re Adding On? Employers Consider Raising Premiums for Unvaccinated Workers

Holland & Hart - The Benefits Dial
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Holland & Hart - The Benefits Dial

Employers are impacted in many ways by the COVID-19 pandemic, not the least of which are employee health and safety. For the last several months, employers have used mostly soft-sell approaches to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. With the FDA’s approval, employers are showing a willingness to move beyond incentives like gift cards. One of the more notable examples in the headlines lately is Delta Airlines’ decision to implement a premium surcharge on unvaccinated workers. Employees who don’t get the jab will have to pay more in premiums under the Airlines’ medical plan.

If an employer wants to follow Delta’s example, the (flight)path might seem confusing or difficult. HIPAA’s wellness program rules are one of several laws to keep in mind. We’ve prepared a decision tree to show how a vaccine surcharge can be structured to fit within the limitations of HIPAA. As we head into open enrollment season for the 2022 coverage year, your consultants, brokers and legal advisors can help you determine if this is an option worth pursuing.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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