“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,” CEO and President Warner Thomas wrote in a letter to staff.
Ochsner’s 32,000 employees are already required to be vaccinated unless approved for a religious or medical exemption.
The spousal vaccination is not a mandate, Thomas wrote. Those who are unwilling to get the shot can pay the additional fee or leave the company health insurance plan.
“As a self-insured organization, we work hard every year to keep our health premiums low for our employees and their families,” Thomas wrote. “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.”
About 90% of Ochsner’s COVID hospitalizations since December have been among unvaccinated patients.
Delta Airlines instituted a similar policy in August, adding a $200 increase in monthly premiums for all unvaccinated employees.
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