Nearly 20% of previously unvaccinated Delta Air Lines employees have been vaccinated since insurance surcharge announcement

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More Delta Air Lines workers have started the COVID-19 vaccination process after the company announced it would increase health insurance costs for its unvaccinated employees.

Delta in August announced that its unvaccinated employees would have to pay a $200 monthly health insurance surcharge, starting Nov. 1. Since then, Delta has seen nearly 20 percent of its previously 20,000 unvaccinated employees decide to get the vaccine, Delta Chief Health Officer Henry Ting, MD, said in an Infectious Disease Society of America briefing Sept. 9.

As of Sept. 9, the surcharge announcement had resulted in raising Delta's vaccination rate from 74 percent to 78 percent of its 80,000 employees.  

The surcharge, announced Aug. 25, is "necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to staff. The airline reported that the average cost for a COVID-19 hospital stay for the company has been $50,000.

Dr. Ting said the company is "welcoming all those conversations to help our people make an informed decision."

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