Delta Air Lines will impose a $200 monthly increase on their employees’ health insurance premiums if they are not vaccinated by November. According to CNBC, Delta CEO Ed Bastian notified his employees on Wednesday (Aug. 25) about the forthcoming changes, which will be in place to help cover the steep costs of those who may become hospitalized with COVID-19.
“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.”
According to Bastian, about 75 percent of Delta’s 75,000 employees are vaccinated, however, he said he wants “as close to 100 percent as possible” of the company’s employees vaccinated due to the aggressiveness of the Delta COVID-19 variant.
Starting Sept. 30, Delta will pay COVID protection to only vaccinated employees who contract the virus. Those who are not vaccinated will have to use their own sick days to cover any leave taken from being ill.
This move comes as an effort to increase vaccinations in the country after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, which can be used by people who are 16 and older. Children who are between the ages of 12 and 15 years old can still receive the vaccine under emergency use.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden urged private companies to require their employees to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. “If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader who has been waiting on full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that,” the president said. “Require it.”
Under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), private businesses are allowed to require vaccinations.