Delta Airlines to charge unvaccinated employees more for insurance

Aug 25, 2021, 7:11 PM
Delta employees insurance...
(File photo. A Delta Airbus A321 and other jets are lined up at their gates at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(File photo. A Delta Airbus A321 and other jets are lined up at their gates at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Delta Airlines makes a major change to its insurance policy which will cost unvaccinated employees an extra $2,400 every year.  Some local business analysts say even if it’s legal, it could be a very bad idea.

Delta Airlines unvaccinated employees’ insurance rises 

Starting November 1, Delta employees who aren’t vaccinated from COVID-19 will be required to pay an extra $200 a month for insurance premiums.  Airline officials say this is to offset the rising costs of treating COVID-19.

Is it legal?

This is a tricky question to answer. Employers Council Utah and Arizona Offices Director Glenn Pelster hasn’t had the chance to look over the company’s insurance policies, so he can’t say with 100 percent certainty if this premium increase is legal, or not. 

However, he said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC, has decided there are no federal laws that prohibit a company from requiring their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pelster said COVID is considered “a different beast” than other diseases, and the pandemic has created an emergency situation.

“That’s one of the basis that the EEOC looked at that they determined that they were going to employers to require the vaccine,” he explained.

Still, there are certain exemptions a company has to allow since there are legitimate reasons why certain people can’t get the shots.

“You have to make accommodations for disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs if that’s what’s preventing an employee from getting vaccinated,” according to Pelster. 

How this can lead to problems for Delta

Even if an employer is allowed to mandate vaccinations, Pelster believes it’s better for a company to recommend workers get them instead of requiring them. He said the decision to charge workers more for insurance will likely rub a lot of Delta employees the wrong way, and now is not a good time to have angry employees.

Pelster explained, “Right now, we’re in a very tough market for employers to fill positions. There is tons of turnover and everyone is having trouble filling open positions. So, you’re just complicating that factor, as well.”

Plus, he believes many people may see this as inconsistent on the airline’s part since they’re essentially requiring workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine but they aren’t requiring employees to get their annual flu shot. Also, some people may believe since the airline is still employing unvaccinated workers, the company doesn’t actually need them to get the vaccine.

“[Unaffected employees might think] ‘You’re penalizing me for other people’s medical expenses,’” Pelster said. 

The Deseret News reports United and Hawaiian Airlines have mandated vaccinations for their employees, but Southwest and American Airlines will not.

Today’s Top Stories


Polio US 2022...
The Associated Press

Polio detected in NYC’s sewage, suggesting virus circulating

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett says the detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming but not surprising.
2 days ago
Intermountain Healthcare...
Mark Jones

CEO and President of Intermountain Healthcare announces resignation

Intermountain Healthcare will soon be looking for a new CEO and President. Current, CEO and President Dr. Marc Harrison announced Thursday he will resign from the position later this year.
3 days ago
St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City. According to the Utah Hospital Association, staffing at hosp...
Martha Harris

Staffing at Utah hospitals is in a more stable place than a year ago

Staffing at Utah hospitals are at a more stable position than they were last year, according to the Utah Hospital Association. However, they still aren't at pre-pandemic levels.
5 days ago
Utah ranks one of the top ten states to have a baby, new study finds....
Waverly Golden

Study places Utah among top ten states to have a baby

According to a new study, Utah is among the top states to have a baby and has one of the lowest c-sections hospital costs.
5 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 202...
Donald Judd, CNN

President Joe Biden officially cleared to emerge from isolation following rebound Covid-19 case

 President Joe Biden was officially cleared to emerge from isolation Sunday after a second negative Covid-19 test, his physician announced.
7 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Subaru Outback outscores other midsize cars in new side-crash test

The 2022 Subaru Outback outscored six other midsize sedans in an updated side-crash test, which more accurately reflects real-world conditions than the previous test.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Delta Airlines to charge unvaccinated employees more for insurance