Ochsner Health Adding ‘A Spousal Covid Vaccine Fee’ in 2022 Health Benefits
Ochsner Health is making policy changes that will not only affect its employees but their spouses as well.
The new policy changes will now include a fee for spouses or domestic partners of employees that choose not to receive the covid-19 vaccine. The fee for those that aren’t vaccinated is $100 per pay period, which would be $2,400 a year that the person would be fined for not receiving the covid vaccine.
Ochsner Health had the following to say about this new change, "This is not a mandate as non-employed spouses and domestic partners can choose to select a health plan outside of Ochsner Health offerings. As with our employee vaccination policy, spouses and domestic partners with medical and religious objections will be able to file exemption requests."
This change will go into effect for the 2022 health benefits and this change only applies to Ochsner Health employees not Ochsner Lafayette General employees at this time.
Here is a Tweet with the letter that supposedly went out to Ochsner employees regarding the changes:
Below is a statement in response to the letter from President and CEO of Ochsner Health, Warner Thomas.
“Each year, Ochsner Health evaluates health insurance and other benefits based on feedback from our employees and changes that impact benefits, services and costs. Our competitive benefits plans are one of many offerings that make Ochsner a top employer in the Gulf South.
One change to the upcoming 2022 healthcare benefits offering is a cost adjustment for adult dependents (spouses and domestic partners) who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. 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. This is not a mandate as non-employed spouses and domestic partners can choose to select a health plan outside of Ochsner Health offerings. As with our employee vaccination policy, spouses and domestic partners with medical and religious objections will be able to file exemption requests.
As a self-insured organization, we work hard every year to keep our health premiums low for our employees and their families. 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. We know that COVID-19 vaccination dramatically reduces transmission, severity of symptoms, hospitalizations, and death. Approximately 90% of those hospitalized with COVID in our facilities have been unvaccinated since vaccines were approved in December 2020.
Widespread vaccination is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19, and we hope this change will encourage even more community members to get vaccinated. We encourage employees with questions about employee benefits to send questions directly to Human Resources.”
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