Harmons charges insurance premium for unvaccinated employees

Oct 28, 2021, 5:20 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm

Utah grocery chain Harmons announced Thursday in a statement that employees who are not vaccinated could face an insurance surcharge of up to $200 a month.

The retail chain said it isn’t mandating vaccines for the virus that has killed more than 740,000 U.S. citizens and hospitalized many more, but it is charging more to offset expensive medical expenses associated with those who choose not to vaccinate.

“Over 86% of our associates are vaccinated and we believe this and the other safety measures we have taken, have kept our associates safe through the pandemic,” Harmons said. “Studies show the average cost of a COVID hospitalization is $50,000 and the risk of being hospitalized is dramatically increased for those who are not vaccinated.”

Similarly, Delta Airlines previously told employees who aren’t vaccinated that they would pay more for insurance. It also quoted a $50,000 figure for a hospital stay.

Harmons said it has a self-funded insurance plan and an obligation to keep insurance costs as low as possible. It said having as many vaccinated employees as possible would help with its goal of insurance costs

“Because of this, we have implemented an insurance premium surcharge of up to $200 per month for unvaccinated associates who don’t qualify for an exemption or who chose not to complete a vaccine education series.”

The grocery chain’s pharmacy associates are required to be vaccinated — with religious and medical exemptions — but the rest of the employees do not have a mandate.

We are keeping an eye on the federal guidelines and anticipating guidance from OSHA. We will respond accordingly when guidance is released,” the release stated.

Harmons said its top concern is the “safety and well-being of our associates.”

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Harmons charges insurance premium for unvaccinated employees