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Spring 2022  Volume 15, Number 1        


Not Getting Vaxxed? Here’s What To Do if You Lose Your Job

As we enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are still encouraging people to get the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots because they lessen the possibility of needing hospitalization if they get infected with the virus.

Federal law allows employers to require employees to be vaccinated during a pandemic if they feel it’s necessary for the operation of their business. The Biden administration wanted to make vaccinations compulsory for employers with more than 100 employees through regulations by OSHA and by withholding federal funding from health care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments.

However, on January 13th, the Supreme Court ruled against OSHA, saying that the rule would be “overreach,” though the Court affirmed the withholding of Medicare and Medicaid payments from health care facilities that do not comply with vaccination mandates.

Here’s a brief history of the struggle to impose a federal mandate:

  • In September 2021 and again in November 2021 President Joe Biden issued a vaccine and testing mandate requiring health care workers at federally funded Medicaid and Medicare facilities, as well as companies with 100 or more employees, to require all employees to either get fully vaccinated or provide negative COVID-19 test results weekly. The White House says the two mandates cover about two-thirds of all U.S. workers.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a temporary stay against the rule in November 2021 because the “petitions give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”
  • The Sixth Circuit reversed the decision in December 2021. The judges said that the mandate was necessary to reduce the number of hospitalizations. Because of this decision, the mandate was set to take effect Jan. 10, 2022.
  • On Jan. 13, 2022, The six conservative justices on the Supreme Court ruled that OSHA had exceed its authority in making the rule, with the three liberal justices dissenting. With respect to upholding the requirement for health care facilities, Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh sided with the liberal justices in the 5-4 decision.
  • Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, an employer still can require employees to get vaccinated. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that employees can be barred from the workplace if they refuse the vaccine, although there are some exceptions.

If you’ve decided to not comply with your employer’s COVID vaccine requirement and are in jeopardy of losing your job, you’ll want to figure out how to replace your health insurance.

Your Options for Staying

You must have a condition recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act to be exempt from taking the coronavirus vaccine. If you do, you may be able to ask your employer to make a reasonable accommodation that allows you to work remotely or take a leave of absence. You also might be allowed to take a weekly COVID-19 test showing a negative result — although you might have to pay for the tests yourself.

Keep in mind that some companies are raising health care insurance premiums for the unvaccinated.

If none of these scenarios fit your situation, your employer has the right to terminate your employment.

Your Options if You are Fired

You have a few options if you are fired and need to find health insurance, which are the same options you might have if you lost your job for any other reason.

  • Spouse’s employer plan: Check to see if you can get on your spouse’s plan. Enrollment in a workplace health plan happens during the annual open-enrollment period, but losing a job also qualifies as long you request special enrollment within 30 days from the loss of your job-based coverage.
  • COBRA: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows those who lose their jobs to continue their workplace coverage for up to 18 months. The downside is that the coverage will be much more expensive than it was while you were employed since you will have to pay the employer-sponsored portion. However, COBRA isn’t available to private-sector businesses with fewer than 20 employees — but you should check your local employment department to see if your state offers similar coverage at the state level.
  • Affordable Care Act Plan (ACA): You can qualify for a special enrollment in an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan at healthcare.gov. You must choose a plan within 60 days of losing workplace coverage, and depending on your household income, you might qualify for subsidized coverage.
  • Medicaid: This is a free or low-cost public health program for low-income Americans. Eligibility is based on total household income. To find out if you qualify, apply through healthcare.gov, the same as for the ACA marketplace plan.
  • Short-Term Health Plans and Health-Sharing Ministries: These plans have inexpensive monthly premiums, but don’t offer comprehensive protection (such as maternity care and mental health services).

To determine just how healthy you are, you may be asked to undergo a medical exam or allow them to review your medical records.

Unemployment Benefits

Most likely you can’t collect unemployment benefits if you don’t want to be vaccinated and don’t have a valid religious or disability exemption.

Workers qualify for unemployment benefits in cases of “eligible job separation.” What this means exactly depends on how your state defines it. Employees generally can collect benefits after they are laid off, quit a job for “good cause,” or get fired for a reason other than “misconduct.” Refusal to comply with a mandate generally is not viewed as “misconduct.”


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In this issue:

This Just In...

Never Outlive Your Savings with Longevity Annuities

Lose Weight to Save On Insurance

Not Getting Vaxxed? Here’s What to Do if You Lose Your Job

Options If You Don’t Have Dental Insurance




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