A letter has gone out to Ochsner Health workers in Louisiana to inform them that health insurance premiums are going up if their spouse or domestic partner are not vaccinated for Covid.

The letter says:

Ochsner LSU Health is implementing a new spousal Covid vaccine fee as part of its 2022 medical plan premiums. This means, if a spouse is covered by one of our medical plans in 2022 and unvaccinated against Covid-19, a $100 dollar per-pay-period fee will apply.

This fee applies for a spouse or domestic partner and does not apply to children who also might be covered by the health insurance plan.

Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas says

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.

Other companies have put similar plans in place for insurance costs. NOLA.com reports Delta Air Lines is raising health premiums by $200 dollars a month. The Delta CEO says Covid-19 hospitalizations cost the company about $50,000 dollars.

Ochsner's Thomas adds:

This fee is similar to what’s been in place for tobacco users and is in line with the benefits offered by many healthcare organizations and companies. This is not a mandate as non-employed spouses and domestic partners can choose to select a health plan outside of Ochsner Health offerings. As with our employee vaccination policy, spouses and domestic partners with medical and religious objections will be able to file exemption requests.

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