Unvaccinated state employees face surcharge in 2022

Not being vaccinated cold mean more out-of-pocket expenses for state employees.
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:26 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - On a vote of 8 to two the Public Employees Benefit Program Board agreed to place a $55-surcharge on unvaccinated employees covered by state health insurance. All unvaccinated dependents on the state plan will pay $175 more a month.

As you can imagine there were calls into the meeting opposing the move.

“This additional $55 a month would be an additional $660 dollars,” testified state worker Robert Borchardt. “So now I’ve worked for the state of Nevada 23 years and four months and I’m going to be losing $1899.64 a year,” he said as he added up all the additional charges he’s been asked to pay.

Board Member Tom Verducci voted against the measure saying state workers just can’t afford the surcharge.

“I think of the soul out in Lovelock working for the department of corrections paying $800 a month living in a trailer with three kids,” said Verducci. “I have a hard time with this one,” he told the board.

The board looked at the costs and expenses associated with testing and treating COVID among state workers. Those combined claims to date have totaled more than $9,000,000 in 2021 alone.

Besides the surcharge, the board also moved to approved to pay for surveillance COVID testing of employees if that testing occurs at a state-approved vendor site. And costs associated with COVID hospitalization or medical care would the shared between the employee and the plan--all beginning March 1, 2022.

Those representing higher education associations within the state testified their organizations were neutral on the subject.

“We do urge all state employees to be vaccinated for personal health and the safety of their workplace communities,” testified Doug Unger with the Nevada Faculty Alliance UNLV.

The alliance also reminded the board except for religious and medical exemptions all NSHE employees must be vaccinated by the end of the year to retain their jobs. To date, not all employees have taken the shot.

It’s estimated there are 1250 NSHE employees and 5,000 state employees who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID. While the state employees have until March to get the vaccine or face a surcharge, the higher education employees have less time with greater consequences.

At stake: their livelihood.

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