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Louisiana’s Largest Health System Fines Employees With Unvaccinated Spouses

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Louisiana’s largest health system is ramping up pressure to have people vaccinated against COVID-19 and will fine workers hundreds of dollars each month if they are married to someone who has not been vaccinated.

Ochsner Health has told its employees it will charge them a $200 monthly premium if a spouse or roommate covered by an Ochsner health plan is not vaccinated.

Ochsner has said all workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 29 to keep their jobs.

Louisiana’s largest hospital system, Ochsner Health, will charge workers a fee for spouses and domestic partners who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19

An email was sent to employees this week explaining the policy of fines or 'compensations'

An email was sent to employees this week explaining the policy of fines or ‘compensations’

President and CEO Warner Thomas said the allowance for unvaccinated spouses and partners is part of an effort to keep employee health premiums low.

As a self-insured organization, Ochsner bears the costs of the COVID treatment for patients who are part of the insurance plan. Unvaccinated people make up the vast majority of the health system’s COVID patients.

“The reality is that the cost of treating COVID-19, particularly for patients requiring intensive inpatient care, is expensive, and we spent more than $9 million in COVID care for those covered in the past year.” through our health plans,” Thomas said in a statement.

The COVID Vaccination Benefit for Spouses begins in 2022 and can deduct up to $2,400 from the employee’s salary annually.

Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas, pictured, said the allowance for unvaccinated spouses and partners is to keep employee health premiums low

Ochsner Health President and CEO Warner Thomas, pictured, said the allowance for unvaccinated spouses and partners is to keep employee health premiums low

The benefit is only for domestic partners or spouses, not for other dependents such as children who are covered by employee health insurance and eligible for vaccination, according to a letter Ochsner leaders sent to employees.

Thomas said the surcharge is not mandated because spouses and partners can choose different insurance coverage and because they can also apply for a medical or religious waiver.

The announcement was condemned by some on social media.

About 65.1% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated with about 45% from Louisiana

About 65.1% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated with about 45% from Louisiana

“This is a taste of what’s to come. There is no end to the madness. Brace yourself,” the Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian student activism organization, tweeted Friday.

“Last year we were celebrated,” said Adara Allen, an Indiana nurse Fox news this week. “But a few nurses eventually left because the hospital didn’t accept their medical problems or had a reaction or adverse effect to the first dose of the covid vaccine.”

In Allen’s case, she was told to stop going to the hospital after refusing the vaccine while pregnant.

Vaccination mandates in several hospitals across the country are causing nurses and other health workers to quit or be fired if they refuse to follow the rules.

Social media users were divided over the policy announced by Ochsner Health

Social media users were divided over the policy announced by Ochsner Health

Protests have been held with those involved holding placards that read: ‘We are still essential’, ‘Say no to vaccines and yes to freedom of choice’, ‘Healthcare heroes demand medical freedom’ and ‘Last year’s heroes don’t get fired’ . ‘

Meanwhile, Louisiana is trying to encourage more people to get the COVID-19 shot by offering them a monetary incentive.

Governor John Bel Edwards announced Friday that Louisiana’s “Shot for 100” program, which has offered $100 cash cards to college students who are being vaccinated, is expanding to offer the money to anyone recently immunized against COVID-19.

Interested parties can get more information online at ShotFor100.com.

“If you haven’t been able to roll up your sleeves yet, we hope a cool $100 will make the decision easier,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

According to data from the health department, more than 2.1 million people in Louisiana have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, about 45% of the state’s population.

In August, Ochsner Health announced a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for its doctors, suppliers and employees, who must be vaccinated by October 29.

In August, Ochsner Health announced a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for its doctors, suppliers and employees, who must be vaccinated by October 29.

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