August 26, 2021
  • Delta Air Lines announced that employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 will incur a $200 monthly increase on their health insurance premiums effective November 1. Unvaccinated employees will also face indoor masking effective immediately and weekly COVID-19 tests starting Sept. 12. However, the surcharge may exceed 30 percent of the cost of employee-only coverage, which may violate federal guidelines. According to Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, the average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost the company, which self-insures its employees, $50,000 per person. (Articles here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)
  • Cigna announced the insurer will expand its footprint on the ACA’s exchanges into three new states and 93 new counties for the 2022 plan year. The states include Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Mississippi; the new counties are in Florida, Arizona, and Virginia. The new markets will potentially reach an additional 1.5 million customers and bring the insurer’s total footprint to 313 counties across 13 states. The expansion plans are pending regulatory approval. (Press release here)
  • The Business Group on Health released its annual employer survey, revealing that employers felt the national trend of health spend declining significantly in 2020. Some employers reported a negative trend as low as negative 12 percent. However, employers are bracing for spending trend to reverse over the rest of this year and into 2022 – increasing to 6 percent before and after plan design changes in 2021, then dropping slightly to 5.8 percent following updates to plan design in 2022. The survey also found that 76 percent of employers have accelerated their telehealth and virtual care investments during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Press release here; Executive Summary here)