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Delta to add $200 monthly health insurance charge for unvaccinated staff


(Reuters) – Delta Air Lines told unvaccinated employees on Wednesday they will have to pay an additional $200 per month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan.

In a staff memo, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said the monthly surcharge would take effect on Nov. 1.

Adding a surcharge to health insurance contributions is the latest tactic being used by employers to protect their operations from the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

A number of U.S. companies, including Delta competitor United Airlines, have mandated shots for their employees. President Joe Biden has also endorsed companies and local governments pressing more people to get vaccinated.

In the memo, Mr. Bastian said the surcharge is necessary to address the financial risk the Atlanta-based airline faces from the decision to not vaccinate. 

A Delta Air spokesperson said the average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost the company $40,000 per person. The surcharge would apply to the entire workforce and proof or documentation of vaccination will be needed to avoid it, the spokesperson said.