Thursday, August 26, 2021

Coronavirus Update 8-26-21: Incentivizing Covid vaccinations through insurance-premium penalties for the unvaccinated

Delta Air Lines has decided to try a different approach to get as many of its employees vaccinated as possible. It's imposing a $200 charge for any unvaccinated employees on its health plan. Think of it as a smokers' penalty, but for the Covid vaccine.

NPR has the details:
Delta Air Lines will charge employees on the company health plan $200 a month if they fail to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a policy the airline's top executive says is necessary because the average hospital stay for the virus costs the airline $40,000.

CEO Ed Bastian said that all employees who have been hospitalized for the virus in recent weeks were not fully vaccinated. …

"This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company," Bastian said in a memo to employees.

The carrot of vaccine incentive payments hasn't worked. Many employers remain too gun-shy to flat out mandate the vaccine, even after the FDA's final Pfizer approval. How about the stick of an unvaxxed penalty? $200 a month is nothing to sneeze at, and will certainly test the limits of one's vaccine hesitancy.

* Image by TJDarmstadt, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons