Delta Drops Unvaccinated Employee Healthcare Surcharge

Delta Drops Unvaccinated Employee Healthcare Surcharge

23

That didn’t last very long…

Delta’s $200 monthly fee for unvaccinated employees

While virtually all airlines in the United States have encouraged employees to get vaccinated, they’ve taken very different approaches when it comes to incentivizing people to do so. Among the “big three” US carriers, United took the hardest stance in requiring employees to be vaccinated.

Delta didn’t go nearly that far, but in August 2021 the airline announced new restrictions for unvaccinated employees. The two most significant restrictions were as follows:

  • As of September 30, 2021, COVID pay protection was only provided to fully vaccinated employees
  • As of November 1, 2021, unvaccinated employees enrolled in Delta’s account-based healthcare plan were subjected to a $200 monthly healthcare surcharge

As you can see, most significantly, all unvaccinated employees would be looking at spending up to an additional $2,400 per year for healthcare. At the time, Delta justified this by explaining that the average hospital stay for COVID-19 had cost Delta $40,000 per person, so this was intended to address that financial risk. At the time, all Delta employees who had been hospitalized due to coronavirus were unvaccinated.

Delta has charged unvaccinated employees $200 monthly

Delta drops unvaccinated healthcare surcharge

It has just been revealed that Delta has dropped the $200 monthly surcharge for unvaccinated employees, as the company instead looks to treat coronavirus as a seasonal disease. This was announced this morning by Delta CEO Ed Bastian during the company’s first quarter earnings call.

In other words, the company isn’t really doing a whole lot to encourage employees to get vaccinated anymore. My thoughts on vaccines are no secret, and personally I’m a fan of the approach United took in requiring vaccination, since it both reduces your odds of getting coronavirus, and more importantly reduces your odds of becoming seriously ill.

For the most part I’m disappointed by this development from Delta. At the same time, I can’t say it’s that illogical. Why? Over time policies should evolve to reflect the science:

  • According to virtually every study we’ve seen, you have the highest level of protection if you’ve been recently vaccinated or boosted
  • Delta has only penalized those who are unvaccinated, rather than those who haven’t been boosted
  • If the goal is to pass on some of the cost of hospitalization to those who pose the biggest risk, you’d think that they’d also penalize those who got their last shot over a year ago, since they have limited protection

So while I think Delta’s healthcare surcharge was a good policy for encouraging vaccination, I’m not sure it’s as effective as it could be in preventing serious illness if there’s not also a booster requirement.

It’s the same reason I think a blanket mask requirement is silly, since it does nothing to differentiate between a cloth mask and an N95, even though they offer drastically different levels of protection.

Delta has ended the surcharge for unvaccinated employees

Bottom line

Delta will no longer charge unvaccinated employees a $200 monthly healthcare surcharge, as the airline looks to treat coronavirus more as a seasonal illness rather than a pandemic. In the end, this policy was only in place for several months, so it’s interesting to see it eliminated already.

What do you make of Delta dropping its surcharge for unvaccinated employees?

Conversations (23)
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  1. sylvain Guest

    A lot of comments of antivax fake news spreaders going against proven scientific facts.
    I am not surprised. Just sad.

  2. TravelinWilly Diamond

    So Delta is awarding irresponsibility and stupidity, and those who fly Delta are paying $ for it.

    Yuck.

  3. YULtide Gold

    In other news, Delta will be announcing a name change to Omicron.

  4. Brian Guest

    >>According to virtually every study we’ve seen, you have the highest level of protection if you’ve been recently vaccinated or boosted<<

    The above is false. The be protection is if you've already had covid.

    1. Watson Gold

      The best protection is to be recently immunized, regardless of how that immunization came about. Getting covid two weeks ago provides better protection than getting vaccinated 6 months ago. And getting vaccinated two weeks ago provides better protection than getting covid 6 months ago.

  5. JD Guest

    Good for Delta! It is about time these companies wise up to these experimental vaccines and not penalize employees who have the right to make personal health care decisions for themselves.

    1. Watson Gold

      The vaccines are not experimental. Stop watching OAN.

  6. JimATL Guest

    I'm sorry you are not a doctor. You should encourage employees to discuss with their doctor what is the best medical option. That decision should not be interfered by either employers or government.

    1. Notbad41 Member

      I’m so old that I remember the word vaccinated meaning you do not get the disease (polio, mumps, measles).

    2. Watson Gold

      @Jim: Every accredited medical doctor says to get vaccinated. Delta is charging employees according to their increased risk for racking up expensive medical bills.
      @Notbad: Those viruses don't mutate nearly as much.

  7. Creditian Guest

    You~~ can~~ boost~~ every~~ month~~ if~~ you~~ are~~ scared~~

  8. George Romey Guest

    It seems that more and more people being hospitalized got the jab and no shortage of credible scientists and health care professionals not on the take with Big Pharma warning of risks. Seems to companies are going to start laying off this mandate.

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      It seems that more and more MAGA mouth breathers spread patently false lies that Newsmax shoots into their tiny rotting brains.

  9. David Guest

    Just flat out wrong / medical disinformation to say the vaccines have little benefit if taken more than a year ago

    1. Justin Guest

      Couldn't agree more. I support initial vaccination but unless you are high risk the booster campaign is completely ridiculous. People vaccinated long ago are getting covid, but not ending up in the hospital and that should be the only goal. If we do everything we can to prevent people from getting covid in the first place (rather than reducing severity) all we are doing is preventing our immune systems from adapting alongside the virus, making...

      Couldn't agree more. I support initial vaccination but unless you are high risk the booster campaign is completely ridiculous. People vaccinated long ago are getting covid, but not ending up in the hospital and that should be the only goal. If we do everything we can to prevent people from getting covid in the first place (rather than reducing severity) all we are doing is preventing our immune systems from adapting alongside the virus, making us get more sick when we do contract it.

  10. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Keep in mind that Delta never had a vaccination mandate in contrast to many other airlines.
    Given that the insurance surcharge was in place for very few months - because there was a notification requirement - this was by far the least costly way for non-vaxd employees to keep their job at any US airline.

  11. Samuel Guest

    Delta should be ashamed they ever instituted this in the first place.

  12. Joe Guest

    Vaccines side effect can give you a visit to the hospital. Just stop acting like that the unvaccinated people are costing the hospital more.

    1. GBOAC Diamond

      Please provide some vetted evidence for your claim.

    2. Watson Gold

      He can't, because there is none.

  13. Dino Guest

    Throwback photo of Delta at their old SAN gates!

  14. Jeffrey Chang Guest

    The employees that got the surcharge should engage in actions that cost Delta 10x the amount the paid.

  15. Jan Guest

    Delta best US Airline.
    With mask mandates extended I wish they would do a KLM and give the administration the finger too.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Samuel Guest

Delta should be ashamed they ever instituted this in the first place.

4
GBOAC Diamond

Please provide some vetted evidence for your claim.

3
JD Guest

Good for Delta! It is about time these companies wise up to these experimental vaccines and not penalize employees who have the right to make personal health care decisions for themselves.

2
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