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Unvaccinated Delta Air Lines employees will pay an additional $200 a month in health insurance premiums

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian notified employees Wednesday that they will face $200 monthly increases on their health insurance premiums.

A Delta A350 in flight over clouds. Image - Courtesy of Delta Air Lines
A Delta A350 in flight over clouds. Image - Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian notified employees Wednesday that they will face $200 monthly increases on their health insurance premiums starting Nov. 1 if they aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19, citing steep costs to cover employees who are hospitalized with the virus.

Delta didn’t go quite as far as trying to match United Airlines, which gave employees until September 27 to be vaccinated or face termination, according to NPR.org. But Delta’s requirements could have the same effect.

Delta will require unvaccinated employees to be tested weekly for COVID-19, with the company covering the cost. The employees must also wear a mask in all indoor settings, the company announced in an internal memo Wednesday, per The Hill.

The airline will also subject unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company’s health care plan to a $200 monthly surcharge, and revoke COVID-19 pay protection for those who are not vaccinated. 

Delta’s move comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Monday, a move that was expected to trigger new vaccine requirements.

“I know some of you may be taking a wait and see approach, or waiting for full FDA approval. With this week’s announcement that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, the time for you to get vaccinated is now,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian told employees in the memo Wednesday.

“The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person,” Bastian said in the memo. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company. In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.”

According to CNBC, almost 75 percent of Delta’s nearly 75,000 employees are fully vaccinated. Earlier this year, Delta began requiring its employees to get the vaccine.

Another company, Alaska Airlines earlier this month told employees that it was considering requiring employees to be vaccinated against Covid but that it would only do so after one of the vaccines received full approval. 

Additionally, a small number of major companies, including CVS Health, Microsoft, Tyson Foods, and Walt Disney, have announced vaccine requirements.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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