Clintonville considers making unvaccinated city workers pay more for health insurance

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 9:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:38 PM CDT
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CLINTONVILLE, Wis. (WBAY) - Some companies are now making workers pay more for the cost of health insurance who aren’t vaccinated.

On Tuesday night the Clintonville city council considered a policy to do just that.

The proposal by City Administrator Sharon Eveland never received an actual vote, but there was plenty of discussion.

“We’re seeing a lot of this movement in the private sector, Delta just made a big announcement, they’re doing a $200 a month surcharge. They’ve actually already seen a huge increase in the number of people getting vaccinated because of that,” Eveland said.

If that proposal had passed, the city would have been the first in the state to make unvaccinated workers pay more for their health insurance premiums.

Right now only about 29 percent of full time city employees in Clintonville are vaccinated. That’s well below the national and state average.

Eveland says the hope was, that this proposal would bring that rate up.

However, it did exempt those who have union contracts like police officers.

The cost difference would have been about an extra $70 per pay check for someone on a family plan, and about $20-$30 extra per pay check for someone on a single plan.

She added, “There is a financial risk to the city both in the terms if we have a significant number of people who are hospitalized it does drive up the insurance costs and that then results in higher premiums, not just for those that are unvaccinated but for all employees as well.”

However, every member of the city council who spoke out was against this type of response to boost the vaccination rate, with some citing concerns that it could pit family members against each other, and cause good people workers to quit.

“Employees are the biggest asset this city has, and I think it’s important to keep them happy. This very well could cause employees to leave. If anything make the insurance cheaper for those who choose the vaccination, not more expensive for those who don’t,” said Council Member Mark Zachow.

Council Member Brad Rokus said, “I don’t think an increase in insurance premiums are going to change people’s minds. I don’t ever want to see it, but I’m afraid COVID is going to have to hit people at home before it ends. It has hit at my home, and we’re vaccinated, we’re careful.”

The city is not considering a vaccine mandate for workers.

Other cities could consider similar health insurance requirements since the time for open enrollment is coming up in the next few months, with new policies starting January 1st.

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