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Citing High Hospitalization Costs, Delta Increases Health Insurance Premiums for Unvaccinated

Although they will not make COVID-19 vaccines required for employment, Delta Air Lines is instituting a new set of rules for those who choose not to get inoculated. Along with a health insurance cost increase of $200, unvaccinated employees will be required to wear face coverings indoors and take a weekly COVID-19 test.

Delta Air Lines is creating a new set of rules for employees who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, in the hopes it will encourage more workers to get inoculated against the virus. In an open memo to the company, airline CEO Ed Bastian outlined the new policies for the 25 percent who have opted out of the shot.

New Rules Include Mandatory Testing and $200 Health Insurance Surcharge

While at one point Delta ran Georgia’s largest mass vaccination site, a small number of the company’s workforce has not yet taken the vaccine. With a third wave of infections driven by the B.1.617.2 variant – better known as the “Delta” variant – the airline is taking dramatic moves to encourage everyone to protect themselves from COVID-19.

“We’ve always known that vaccinations are the most effective tool to keep our people safe and healthy in the face of this global health crisis,” Bastian wrote in the memo. “That’s why we’re taking additional, robust actions to increase our vaccination rate.”

Under the new policy, those who choose not to get vaccinated will be immediately required to wear masks inside all Delta facilities. Starting on September 12, 2021, unvaccinated employees must submit to a weekly COVID-19 test while community case rates are high. Anyone who tests positive will be forced to isolate outside of the workplace.

By Sept. 30, 2021, employee COVID-related pay protection will only apply to those who are vaccinated and experience a breakthrough infection. Anyone who remains unvaccinated by November 1, 2021, will pay more for their health insurance. Those who are enrolled in the airline’s account-based healthcare program will pay an additional $200 per month as a surcharge.

The airline is adding the surcharge because of the costs incurred for everyone hospitalized with a COVID-19 infection. According to Delta, each employee hospital stay costs the carrier $50,000.

“Protecting yourself, your colleagues, your loved ones and your community is fundamental to the shared values that have driven our success for nearly a century,” Bastian writes in the memo. “Vaccinations are the safest, most effective, and most powerful tool we have to achieve our goals, live up to our values and move forward.”

Delta Becomes Fourth U.S.-Based Airline to Set COVID-19 Policies

Even though Delta’s changes fall short of an employee vaccination requirement, the move follows other carriers in creating COVID-19 specific policies. United Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are all requiring employees to get vaccinated, while American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue have not yet set policies but are “encouraging” worker inoculations.

zyxlsy August 31, 2021

Obviously anti-body tests are available and easy. Why not mandate that first and see what we have before mandating vaccination? Next time, I guess we can all demand to see proof of laser surgery in place of a simple eye exam.

NonnaGoes August 27, 2021

Well, you know, it’s something. What would b something better is national healthcare, like civilized country.

jackw007 August 27, 2021

I chose to be vaccinated, but this is absurd. To the post above, if Delta were requiring surcharges for smokers, overweight employees, those who choose not to get a flu shot and any number of other personal choices that can affect hospitalizations then I would say fair enough. But this is not "insurance cost" related, this is a matter control, pure and simple. This virus is not going away, and restrictions, bans and mandates have no effect other than to create destruction and political division. I encourage everyone who does not have a good reason to not get vaccinated to go ahead and get vaccinated. If you choose not to that's up to you, and it's nobody else's business what someone chooses.

jtatlanta August 27, 2021

Awful thing to do. I know plenty of overweight heavy drinking Delta employees, Will they have to pay more too? Sounds like Delta being pressured by liberals like all other companies and caved.

QT31415 August 26, 2021

Anyone who has been evaluated for health insurance, car insurance, long term disability insurance or life insurance will understand that many lifestyle habits affect health outcomes. It is time for us to accept that vaccination for COVID affects personal as well as community outcomes. COVID is costing our nation, in dollars as well as lives.