What We’re Reading: Delta Air Lines Charges Unvaccinated Employees; Pentagon Requires Vaccines; Mental Health Merger

Delta Air Lines raises health insurance premiums for employees not vaccinated against COVID-19; the Pentagon requires all active-duty service members to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; 2 mental health giants merge into 1 company worth $3 billion.

Delta Air Lines Charges $200 for Employees Without COVID-19 Vaccine

According to a report from CNBC, Delta Air Lines announced that employees will face a $200 monthly increase on their health insurance premiums beginning November 1 if they have not received a vaccine against COVID-19. The company self-insures its employees, and the increased premiums for unvaccinated employees will be used to cover employees who are hospitalized with COVID-19. In addition to increased premiums, unvaccinated employees will also be subject to indoor masking effective immediately and weekly COVID-19 tests beginning September 12. Delta’s policy comes short of the outright vaccination mandates imposed by competitor United Airlines.

Pentagon Requires Pfizer Vaccine Following FDA Approval

In light of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine becoming the first to receive full approval from the FDA, the Pentagon ordered all active-duty service members to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Reuters. The Pentagon ordered the military to start the process immediately but has not yet specified a deadline for it to be completed. The military has said that around half of the US armed forces are already fully vaccinated. The news also comes as the CDC adds that vaccination against COVID-19 will be added to the list of required vaccines for applicants to obtain permanent residence and refugee status, as reported by the National Law Review.

Mental Health Giants Merge Into $3 Billion Company

Two prominent companies in the mental health space, Headspace and Ginger, have announced plans for a merger, according to STAT News. The new company will be called Headspace Health and will have a reported value of $3 billion, making it one of the top companies fighting to own a significant share of the mental health market. Headspace and Ginger both offer complementary services that will allow Headspace Health to address a wide spectrum of patient needs and will potentially make employers and health plans more willing to purchase its services. The companies claim to cover a combined 100 million people around the world and have seen growth over the course of the pandemic as employers increase their ability to offer mental health services to their employees.