If Nevada state workers who are enrolled in public employee healthcare plans are unvaccinated, they will be charged around $55 per month.
Nevada is going to be the first state to charge the state workers who are enrolled in public employee health insurance plans if they have not gotten themselves vaccinated.
The Testing Costs
To save the costs of testing the individuals who have not yet received their vaccine shot, the State Public Employees Benefits Program board voted to charge these unvaccinated workers up to $55 every month.
The vote was done this Thursday. The policy director of the Nevada Government, Steve Sisolak, Duane Young, said that this pandemic is a burden for everyone and whoever refuses to get their vaccine shots should bear the responsibility of the testing cost in particular.
This surcharge plan is not only for state workers but also for the adults who depend upon them. This will be effective from July 2022 onwards.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the testing and treatment cost for all state workers have been covered by the public sector plans. Many other plans were discontinued, and the complete cost was not covered when vaccines were easily available across the state. Then also, insurance plans entirely paid for state workers.
What Is the Weekly Testing Routine?
In the workplaces of Nevada, weekly corona testing is done on the employees to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Even less than 70% of employees are vaccinated.
If the workplace mandate of President Joe Biden, currently facing court challenges, becomes effective, the workers who have been avoiding vaccines will have to undergo the testing every week regularly. This will result in a significant increase in the costs for the state.
According to the executive officer of the benefits program, Laura Rich, some public sector plans have imposed surcharges on employees who are not vaccinated, like for workers at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. However, Nevada would be the first state to enforce this system-wide surcharge.
As the unvaccinated workers are in the thousands, she said the administration had to decide on how much of the tax dollars should be spent to cover the medical bills of individuals who choose not to get vaccinated.
Tom Verducci, a board member, represents the state workers’ deferred compensation plans, strictly voted against this policy. He opposes the idea of enforcing additional costs on workers as he says they are already much burdened; they have not received any raise for years now.
Roughly 5000 state workers and 1250 Nevada System of Higher education employees have not yet gotten their vaccine shots.
Hope to Increase the Percentage of Vaccinated Individuals
The state is imposing these penalties and charges to get more people to go for their vaccination. The fear of additional costs and surcharges might convince people to go for their shots.
With ever-changing coronavirus variants, the state is in a tight position to bear the cost of testing and treatment. People must get their vaccination completed and follow the healthcare guidelines; it is the only way to survive this COVID-19 pandemic.