Louisiana‘s largest health system is cranking up the pressure on employees to get people vaccinated against COVID-19 and will start fining employees each month if they are married to someone who is unvaccinated.
Ochsner Health has told its workers it will charge them a monthly premium of $200 if a spouse or domestic partner covered under an Ochsner health plan have not been vaccinated. Ochsner has said all employees must be vaccinated by October 29 to keep their jobs.
President and CEO Warner Thomas said the surcharge for unvaccinated spouses and partners is part of an effort to keep health premiums low for employees. As a self-insured organization, Ochsner bears the cost of COVID treatment for patients who are on its insurance plan.
“The reality is the cost of treating COVID-19, particularly for patients requiring intensive inpatient care, is expensive, and we spent more than $9 million on COVID care for those who are covered on our health plans over the last year,” Thomas said in a statement.
The COVID vaccine fee for spouses will begin in 2022 and could deduct up to $2,400 yearly from the employee’s paycheck. The fee is only for domestic partners or spouses, not other dependents such as children who are covered by the employee’s health insurance and are eligible for vaccination, according to a letter Ochsner leaders sent to employees.
Thomas said the surcharge isn’t a mandate because spouses and partners can choose other insurance coverage, and because they can also apply for a medical or religious exemption.
Some social media users took aim at Ochsner’s stance. “This is a taste of what’s coming. There is no end to the madness. Brace,” the Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian student activism organization tweeted on Friday.
“We were celebrated last year,” Adara Allen, a nurse from Indiana told Fox News this week. “But a few nurses did end up leaving due to the hospital not accepting their medical issues or having a reaction or adverse effect to the first dose of the covid vaccine.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NORTHWELL.EDU
Latest posts by Paul Murdoch (see all)
- Joe and Jill Biden seen leaving restaurant maskless in violation of DC’s indoor mask mandate - October 20, 2021
- NYC judge blocks father from visiting daughter in custody dispute pending vaccination - October 20, 2021
- Trump files lawsuit against National Archives, January 6. committee to block records request - October 20, 2021