Costs to provide health coverage to employees have increased manifold because of the coronavirus outbreak. As the government is relaxing norms and businesses are limping back to normalcy, companies are urging employees to get vaccinated. There are different kinds of invectives being offered by companies to promote their employees for getting jabs of Covid-19 vaccines. But, Delta Airlines did nothing like this. However, it has introduced an interesting policy. The airline has announced that employees who are still not vaccinated will be charged USD 200 per month extra for health coverage. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian sent a memo to employees stating that the extra amount will be charged for the health insurance premiums if they have not received Covid-19 jabs.
While stating this, Bastian cited the steep increase in the cost of hospitalization charged with the onset of Covid-19. “The average cost of hospitalization that Delta has to pay per person is around USD 50,000. The surcharge has been imposed to address the financial risk that non vaccinated people are creating for other colleagues. The move became all the more necessary because ever since the case of the B.1.617.2 variant is on the rise, most of the employees of the airline who have been hospitalized were not fully vaccinated,” Bastian said. Health insurance plans for the employees of Delta are provided by United Healthcare. There are some other restrictions too for unvaccinated employees. For example, those who are not vaccinated will have to wear masks all the time with immediate effect. Also, these employees will have to get tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis starting from September 12.
These measures are the latest attempt to encourage people for getting Covid-19 vaccines. Moreover, the airline said that Covid pay protection will be provided to only those employees who are fully vaccinated. This will be applicable from September 30. Delta Airlines said that around 75 percent of its employees are vaccinated. The airline has around 75,000 employees. Delta made Covid vaccination mandatory for new employees at the beginning of this year. Delta has informed Air Line Pilots Association about the changes. It must be noted that around 12,000 pilots of the airline will be exempted from this surcharge. This is because they have already opted for a health care plan with higher premiums. That means, even if they are not vaccinated, a surcharge will not be levied on them.