Ochsner Health will charge employees with unvaccinated spouses a monthly premium of $200, CEO issues statement

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UPDATE: Over the weekend it was reported that Ochsner Health plans to fine employees $200 monthly for spouses included in their insurance plan, but have not been vaccinated. Since that report, Warner Thomas, President and CEO of Ochsner Health released the statement below regarding their decision to these changes.

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 the Ochsner HR Solution Center.

Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health

NEW ORLEANS, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Louisiana Health System are adding pressure to unvaccinated Louisiana residents.

According to Ochsner Health, they have informed their employees that a monthly premium of $200 will be charged to them if a spouse or domestic partner under an Ochsner health plan is not vaccinated.

All Ochsner Health employees must be vaccinated by October 29 to keep their jobs.

As of now, the COVID vaccine fee will begin in 2022 and could deduct nearly $2,400 yearly from the employees’ paycheck.

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