Delta Air Lines could be 1st of many to hike premiums for unvaccinated employees

Other large companies could soon be following Delta Air Lines (DAL) down the runway in charging workers who don't get vaccinated for COVID-19, says the CEO of one of the largest payrolls and HR services companies. 

Paychex CEO Marty Mucci tells Yahoo Finance Live companies he talks with are actively discussing whether to change their health care premiums, offering different versions for those people who are unvaccinated. It is also something Mucci is debating himself within his own company. Mucci has been CEO of Paychex for nearly 10 years. 

"We are looking at it because the cost is very high. You can talk about whether to mandate the vaccinations or not for your employees. You need to be able to say there are consequences. There are costs that come with not being vaccinated. I think Delta made the comment that the average hospital stay for someone not vaccinated is like $50,000. You don't want to spread that to all of your employees. So you have to find ways — just like smoking and non-smoking — ways to try to get the possible cost as fair as you can to your employees to keep your rates down for health insurance," Mucci explained. 

To be sure, Delta sees the situation like that. 

The airline said Wednesday that starting Nov. 1, employees who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine will be forced to pay an additional $200 per month to stay on the company's health plan. 

"Protecting yourself, your colleagues, your loved ones and your community is fundamental to the shared values that have driven our success for nearly a century. Vaccinations are the safest, most effective, and most powerful tool we have to achieve our goals, live up to our values and move forward," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo. 

The decision by Delta to effectively charge unvaccinated employees comes after the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine received full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval earlier in the week. 

Added Paychex's Mucci, "For our employees, they [costs] may go up. We are looking at that now to see what is the fairest way to handle that. Our benefits will come up for renewal this fall… And it's something that we are trying to keep the rates down for all our employees."

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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