Oct 1, 2021 - Health

Louisiana health system to charge employees with unvaccinated partners

A potable water tanker in front of Ochsner Health Center after Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The largest health care system in Louisiana will charge its employees $200 a month if a spouse or domestic partner covered under its health plan is not vaccinated against the coronavirus, NOLA reports.

Why it matters: The new rule, which will take effect in 2022, comes as the vast majority of coronavirus patients who end up hospitalized are unvaccinated.

The big picture: Ochsner Health, which employs nearly 32,000 employees and over 4,500 physicians, calls the policy the "spousal COVID vaccine fee," according to a letter Ochsner leaders sent to employees, NOLA reports.

  • Ochsner will add a health insurance surcharge of $100 per pay period, which adds up $2,400 yearly from an employee's bi-weekly paycheck.
  • CEO Warner Thomas said the company spent more than $9 million on COVID-19 care for those covered under its health plans, per NOLA. Thomas said the surcharge will keep health premiums low for employees.
  • Unvaccinated patients accounted for 90% of COVID hospitalizations in Ochsner facilities, per NOLA.
Go deeper