Gephardt: Unvaccinated Delta Air Lines employees will pay more for health insurance
SALT LAKE CITY — Delta Air Lines is putting its employees on notice: if you don’t get vaccinated against COVID-19, you’re going to pay more for health insurance.
In a memo issued Wednesday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote, “unvaccinated employees enrolled in Delta’s account-based health care plan will be subject to a $200 monthly surcharge.”
Delta doesn’t hide its intentions. The company is deliberately putting pressure on employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine writing, “we’re taking additional, robust actions to increase our vaccination rate.”
Delta said the average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost the company $50,000 per person. And in recent weeks, since the rise of the delta variant, every single Delta employee who has been hospitalized with the disease was not fully vaccinated.
The move is likely to bring legal challenges.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, federal law says “an individual may not be charged more for coverage than any similarly situated individual is being charged based on any health factor.”
And Obamacare bans insurers from charging a person more based on his or her “health status.”
Bastian said vaccinations are the safest, most effective and most powerful tool we have to “move forward,” and beginning in November, employees who feel otherwise will pay more for insurance.
The memo said 25% of Delta’s workforce is unvaccinated. Salt Lake City International Airport is a major Delta hub, and the airline has more than 4,000 employees based in Salt Lake City.
Charging more for personal health choices that typically result in high medical bills is not a novel concept. For example, many companies charge more to employees who choose to smoke.
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