Delta Air Lines employees who choose not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 are about to learn that muhfreedoms aren't free. The cost? Two hundred dollars a month in increased health insurance premiums.
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told employees in a memo: "The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $40,000 per person. 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."
(The "B.1.617.2 variant" — lol, the CEO of Delta couldn't call it the "Delta variant," now could he?)
Delta also told unvaccinated employees that if they come down with Covid-19, they won't be eligible for the company pay protection program and will have to use sick days instead.
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.