Employers are considering vaccine incentives and potential penalties for workers who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. Before adding a premium surcharge, employers will want to consider how they may impact the affordability of an employer’s health plans. While there is an exception for tobacco, there’s nothing currently in the ACA rules that similarly applies to a surcharge or penalty for non-COVID-19 vaccinated employees.

• Under current ACA guidelines, a premium surcharge for choosing to be unvaccinated against COVID-19 could be added to the cost of your company’s lowest-cost health plan.

• If the cost including the surcharge renders the plan as unaffordable, and the employee goes to the exchange and receives a premium tax credit, the employer may be subject to Penalty B. That’s $4,060 penalty per year for each full-time employees who did not have an offer of affordable coverage and also received a premium tax credit.

Credit Kyle Scott is assistant vice president of compliance at Health e(fx), an Equifax company. She earned her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from Hamline University School of Law and her BA in Psychology from Purdue University.


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