With COVID rates on the rise in Colorado, employees and employers alike are on edge about vaccine mandates. But while companies with 100 or more employees are now forced to require the vaccine, some smaller companies have taken a different approach: Charging unvaccinated people more for health insurance.
Can employers legally raise premiums for being unvaccinated? This question and 4 others answered below.
FAQ: COVID-19 Employee Health Insurance Premiums Colorado
Q: Can Colorado Employers Raise Premiums for Being Unvaccinated?
Colorado employers do have the freedom to increase health insurance premiums for unvaccinated workers. However, they are also required to provide notice of a “reasonable alternative standard”. For most companies, this is either complying with the CDCs mask guidelines at work or submitting to regular testing, or both.
Q: Can Employers Charge More for Unvaccinated Employees?
Yes, Colorado Employers have the ability to charge more for unvaccinated employees. This can come in the form of a surcharge for unvaccinated workers, or a discount for the vaccinated.
Most Colorado companies are not charging more for the unvaccinated. This is largely due to Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, which forces companies with 100 or more employees to require vaccination. (Or get tested weekly).
While small companies are not forced to require the vaccine, it is within their rights to require the COVID vaccine for all employees. Like the federal mandate, they would have to provide accommodation for people who cannot get the vaccine for health reasons.
Q: Can Colorado Life Insurance Companies Charge More for Being Unvaccinated?
Unlike ACA health insurance plans, life insurance companies in Colorado and nationwide have the freedom to use health risk factors to set their premiums. Because life insurance companies usually require a health screening, it is not illegal for them to inquire about vaccination status.
If you already have a policy, then your rates will not change. But if you’re shopping for a new Colorado life insurance policy, your vaccination status could be a factor.
As of this date, most life insurance companies are not asking about vaccination status, but some experts are predicting that this could happen as soon as 2022.
Q: Can I Still Get the Expanded Health Insurance Subsidy in Colorado?
Nationwide, health insurance subsidies have been increased for the majority of people. These expanded subsidies last through the end of 2022, however, there is an increasing chance that they will be made permanent.
If you don’t have a health insurance plan because you haven’t been able to afford it, this is a good time to compare rates. A lot of people are qualifying for $0 premium, reduced-deductible plans, and you could be one of them.
Q: Can I Still Get Cheaper Health Insurance for 2022?
Every year, Health Insurance Open Enrollment begins on November 1st. If you need to lower your premiums for 2022, then schedule an appointment with your Personal Benefits Manager ASAP. We’ll show you the new low-cost plans that are available, and also let you know what kind of subsidy you qualify for.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is designed for general information purposes only. For the most accurate and updated guidance for COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. If you’re looking for more information about how COVID-19 might affect your employee rights, the Department of Labor’s Coronavirus Resources page is a good place to start.
The State of Colorado’s COVID-19 Resource Website has local updates on vaccines, public health orders, and more.
Christine Corsini is a health insurance and medical cost sharing expert, and a Personal Benefits Manager at ColoHealth. Her goal is to help people embrace life’s amazing possibilities by staying healthy, saving money, and making the best decisions when it comes to healthcare.