x
Breaking News
More () »

Unvaccinated spouses to cost Ochnser employees $200 more for health coverage: report

Ochsner is a self-insured organization and pays directly for the costs from COVID patients on employee benefit plans, the report said.

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana's largest hospital system is charging employees more for their loved ones' insurance— if they don't get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report from the Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.

Ochsner is adding a $100 surcharge to the health insurance costs for employees with unvaccinated domestic partners or spouses on their benefits plan, the Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.

The fee will be administered bi-weekly  beginning next year, adding up to $2,400 a year.

Ochsner told its employees about the fee in a letter. The letter said the fee only applies to domestic partners and spouses — not other dependents.

Warner Thomas, Ochsner CEO, told the paper the change came after evaluating the cost of benefits.

"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 to the newspaper in an email.

Thomas said the extra fee is a move meant to keep health benefit premiums low for employees. 

Unvaccinated patients accounted for 9 out of 10 hospitalizations at Ochsner facilities.

Ochsner isn't alone in the move, according to the paper.

Starting in November, Delta Air Lines is charging unvaccinated employees an additional $200 each month. In a memo to employees, the company's CEO said each COVID-19 hospitalization is costing the company $50,000, on average.

According to the Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, Ochsner is a self-insured organization and pays directly for the costs from COVID patients on employee benefit plans.