Aug 25, 2021 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- Delta Air Lines /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -8.34% 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.
Unvaccinated employees will face other restrictions, including indoor masking effective immediately and weekly Covid-19 tests starting Sept. 12 the Atlanta-based airline said in announcing new COVID policies for employees.
The measures are the latest attempt by a U.S. corporation to drive up COVID vaccination rates. Delta stopped short of an outright mandate like rival United Airlines established earlier this month. The airline, which self insures its employees, stands out in its plans to raise premiums for unvaccinated workers to cover the higher costs of insuring employees who get COVID.
"The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person," Bastian said in an employee 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."
Delta is self-insured and United Healthcare /zigman2/quotes/210453738/composite UNH -2.28% administers the airline's health insurance plans. The change in approach was Delta's initiative.
Delta also said starting Sept. 30, "in compliance with state and local laws, COVID pay protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection." Unvaccinated employees who contract COVID, without exemptions, will have to use their sick days after that.
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