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Costs of COVID tests, hospitalization about to get passed on to customers: What does it mean for you?

In a matter of weeks insurance companies across the United States will begin requiring copays for coronavirus hospitalizations and testing. This comes after 20 months of limits being placed on out-of-pocket expenses associated with a COVID diagnosis.

Now, as the Delta Variant surges, the Kaiser Family Foundation says that insurance companies will resume passing those expenses on to patients. Right now federal law requires COVID testing be free – as long as it’s deemed medically appropriate.

However, if you get a test as an alternative to vaccine – the cost will be yours. Weekly COVID testing has been an alternative for companies that are asking workers to get the vaccine. That cost of that testing will be passed on to the individual, if they opt against the vaccine.


Last week the Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval.

The cost will be getting passed on to people in another way, too. As COVID treatment drives up cost of insurance plans for workers – the expense will not be shared by the entire group, but rather individuals opting against COVID vaccination.

And it’s a simple matter of cost: KFF noted in a recent report that preventable COVID hospitalizations cost companies more than $2 billion in the past two months alone. That’s one reason why some employers have said that they will pass additional health plan cost on to workers.

“Insurers and health plans are not allowed to charge people a higher amount if they’re unvaccinated – but, employers may impose a higher cost to people if they’re unvaccinated,” explained Krutika Amin, Associated Director of KFF.

Some companies like Delta, Disney, and United have taken hard stances on vaccination. Others are opting against it as they struggle to find workers.



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