KHN-Workers who refuse to be vaccinated against covid-19 risk financial penalties, including increased health insurance premiums and job termination.
Now the financial impact may outlive employees. Their family may not obtain death benefits if they died of covid and were not vaccinated.
If A Loved One Dies Without Being Vaccinated
The MTA no longer provides a $500,000 death benefit to the unvaccinated subway, bus, and commuter rail employees’ families who die of covid.
The New Bedford Municipal Council wanted to expand accidental death benefits to city workers. The mayor didn’t sign the bill since it prevented payment if the worker wasn’t vaccinated.
President Joe Biden has urged employers to vaccinate their employees. In September, the government declared that all firms with 100 or more employees must vaccinate or test weekly for covid.
Employers are frustrated, especially now that the immunizations are wholly authorized, according to Carol Harnett, president of the Council for Disability Awareness. You’re attempting to shield your staff and yourself from the public.
The New York City Transit Authority is the most visible employer to do so. Since the pandemic problem started in 2020, 173 MTA employees have perished. The MTA says five of the fatalities happened after the policy changed on June 1. An MTA representative stated the five employees who died after the policy went into effect were not vaccinated.
The policy broke with a prior agreement with employees. In April 2020, when covid swept New York, transportation authorities and employee unions agreed that covid victims would be eligible for a $500,000 lump-sum death payout, similar to other MTA workers’ families.
To be eligible for the covid payment, employees’ families have to be vaccinated beginning June 1, according to the MTA Board.
The MTA has been working to raise immunization rates among its about 67,000 employees. The MTA estimates that about 70% of transportation staff are immunized.
The MTA confirmed that the initiative had been extended beyond its intended one-year timeframe. The only difference is vaccination.
The program is not being canceled, an MTA spokeswoman wrote.
Employers of dangerous professions, such as police officers, firefighters, utility workers, and transportation workers, often give supplemental insurance coverage that compensates if they die on the job.
An additional life insurance policy generally provides coverage. Typically, line-of-duty or accidental death and dismemberment plans do not cover disease-related deaths.
According to DeBofsky, certain front-line employees are qualified for accidental death payments since they are deemed ill on the job.
For example, if employees did not follow safety rules, they may be denied death benefits, according to Willis Towers Watson group life adviser John Ehrlich. Those who do not wear a bulletproof vest, a helmet, or other safety equipment may not be entitled to insurance payouts.
In light of the widespread availability of vaccinations, some companies are considering lowering non-vaccinated employees’ benefits, according to Rich Fuerstenberg of benefits consultancy Mercer. However, Furstenberg claimed he had not heard of any firms doing so.
In New Bedford, the Municipal Council overwhelmingly supported a petition in August allowing family members to obtain accidental death compensation if a city employee died in the course of duty.
However, Mayor Jon Mitchell opposed it for various reasons, including immunization. To give accidental death benefits to an employee who refused to take a vaccination that was proved almost 100% effective would be unacceptable, Mitchell wrote to the council.
The mayor’s office says the plan has been shelved for discussion. Joseph Fletcher worked for the MTA in Brooklyn for almost 17 years, repairing and maintaining buses.