Publish date:

Unvaccinated Delta employees will face $200 monthly health care surcharge

It's to "address the financial risk" being unvaccinated creates for the business.

Delta Air Lines employees who remain unvaccinated will soon have to pay an extra $200 each month — described by the company as a healthcare "surcharge" to "address the financial risk" being unvaccinated creates for the business.

Delta published a memo from CEO Ed Bastian Wednesday morning detailing the new surcharge. The policy goes into effect Nov. 1, 2021, and applies to employees who are enrolled in Delta’s account-based healthcare plan.

"The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person," the memo says, adding that in recent weeks (amid the delta variant surge), all Delta employees hospitalized for COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

Related: Minneapolis cafe requiring proof of vaccination, negative test to dine inside

Employees who aren't vaccinated face a few new protocols as well:

  • They are now required to wear a mask in all indoor Delta settings until community transmission rates "stabilize".
  • They will have to take a COVID-19 test weekly, starting Sept. 12.
  • Starting Sept. 30, they will no longer be eligible for COVID pay protection — only fully vaccinated individuals who have a breakthrough infection will qualify.

"Over the past few weeks, the fight has changed with the rise of the B.1.617.2 [delta] variant — a very aggressive form of the virus," Bastian's memo says, later saying "the variant has resulted in a significant rise in hospitalizations and deaths, almost entirely impacting those who have not yet been vaccinated." 

Related: Delta variant among numerous issues putting strain on Minnesota hospitals

Bastian says the company has reached a 75% vaccination rate overall, describing it as a "milestone" that "puts us one step closer to getting back to what we do best." But the delta variant means "we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100% as possible."

Delta is the latest in a string of businesses and organizations that are either outright requiring workers get vaccinated, or placing additional restrictions on those who don't. 

A health insurance surcharge is a bit new, and there are legal and compliance considerations for which businesses have to account, Fierce Healthcare reported

Surcharges are one potential avenue for incentivizing employees to get vaccinated, and could be legal if instituted as a HIPAA compliant wellness program, an employment law attorney told WTSP in Florida.

A study released last week from Health System Tracker found 76,000 preventable COVID hospitalizations among unvaccinated American adults in July alone. These hospitalizations cost an estimated $1.5 billion

Next Up

Mike Zimmer

Does Mike Zimmer's coaching style mesh with the Vikings' strengths?

Time for Zimmer to put all of his faith in the offense and try to win shootouts?

gray wolf

6 Wisconsin tribes sue to end upcoming wolf hunt

They cite treaty rights and a "disastrous February hunt."

St Paul Grill steak facebook

St. Paul Grill, closed since March 2020, announces reopening date

The dining room will open to all visitors again next month.

police lights

Charges: Man fled police at 127 mph, caused crash that injured officer

The Sept. 16 incident led to a police chase going the wrong way on Hwy. 169 near St. Peter.

Bar beer

3 Minnesota teens 'pistol whipped' at bar in Sioux Falls

Police are investigating the incident, including why the teens were at the bar.

Ben Simmons

The latest Ben Simmons drama 1 week from the start of training camp

Training camp opens Sept. 28, at which point things could get really crazy.

court gavel

Judge finds man guilty in Hibbing Christmas Day murder

Jerome Spann fatally shot Jeryel McBeth on Christmas Day 2018.

Reyel Simmons photo 1 - complaint - crop

Popular TikToker shared his life as a federal agent. Charges say it's all a lie.

Authorities allege the Minnesota man has a long history of deceit.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, September 21

Today's report features cumulative data from Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Pixabay - school - classroom

6 Minnesota schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools

The schools are recognized for their academic performance or progress in closing the achievement gap.



Delta variant circulating in Minnesota, health officials urge vaccination

"The unvaccinated are still at risk for the virus – and it has a way of finding the unvaccinated."

Flickr -  Bank Plaze Nov 2020 - Chad Davis

US Bank employees won't return to downtown Minneapolis office next month

The company, citing COVID's resurgence, has pushed back its office return plans.

coronavirus, ICU, COVID-19

'Vast majority' of COVID-19 cases, deaths in MN are in unvaccinated

The Delta variant is also becoming more dominant in Minnesota.


HealthPartners: COVID hospitalizations driven by unvaccinated, middle aged adults

The health provider says the average age of its hospitalized patients is trending downwards.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Rochester mayor declares local state of emergency over delta variant

A new, targeted indoor mask mandate went into effect immediately.

covid, vaccine

Study finds 'no serious health effects' linked to mRNA vaccines

The study monitored 6.2 million recipients of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.