Louisiana’s largest health system is planning to fine employees hundreds of dollars every month if their spouse is unvaccinated.
“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,” said Warner Thomas, CEO of Ochsner Health, according to NOLA.
The plan, according to reports, is a $200/month charge if an employee’s spouse or partner is not vaccinated. And it is expected to begin in 2022. This fee only applies to domestic partners or spouses who are covered by the employee’s health insurance.
“Similar to our employee vaccination requirement, this spousal COVID vaccine fee aims to protect our entire Ochsner team, which includes employees, their families and the communities we serve,” the notice from the Ochsner Benefits Team states. “As with any benefits plan, we want to ensure we’re offering the most competitive, comprehensive plan with options for your situation. With COVID-19 greatly affecting the care we provide at our campuses and vaccination being the best solution to the pandemic, we want to lead the way as other healthcare organizations such as LCMC and Our Lady of the Lake are by asking spouses or domestic partners to be vaccinated as well.”
At this time, the fee will not be levied on unvaccinated dependents. At this time.
There will be a verification process where employees are asked to upload documentation to confirm their spouse or domestic partner’s vaccination status against COVID.