Illinois bill would make unvaccinated pay their COVID expenses

Midwest

FILE – In this Aug. 31, 2021 file photo a R.N. holds the hand of a COVID-19 patient in the Medical Intensive care unit (MICU) at St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. St. Luke’s Health System, Idaho’s largest hospital network, asked state health leaders to allow “crisis standards of care” on Wednesday because the increase in COVID-19 patients has exhausted the state’s medical resources. (AP Photo/Kyle Gree,File)

 CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) —  A new measure filed Monday in the Illinois legislature would force unvaccinated patients to pay their own medical expenses if they become hospitalized with COVID-19.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jonathan Carroll, (D-57th District), said he got the idea from his wife, who asked why the government picks up the hospital bill for people who are unvaccinated.

Carroll’s bill would amend the state’s insurance code so that a person who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and chooses not to be vaccinated must pay for health care expenses out-of-pocket if the person becomes hospitalized with the virus.

The change would update insurance policies issued or renewed on or after January 2023.

The bill is almost certain to face legal questions. Federal laws bar employers and insurers from charging higher prices to people with pre-existing health conditions. But some employers are taking action anyway. Delta Airlines has said that unvaccinated workers could face a $200 monthly health insurance surcharge.

Even without a legislative push, data show more and more Illinois residents are getting vaccinated. 61 percent of eligible residents are now fully vaccinated.

The Illinois Democratic House leadership declined to comment on the bill.

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