Ducey Puts the Kibosh on the Intervention

Last summer Pima County made job offers contingent on being vaccinated against COVID-19. New hires and promotional employees were required to document their vaccination status on the date of hire.

They also implemented a health insurance premium surcharge of $45 per pay period ($1,183 annually) to employees who were unwilling to get vaccinated for COVID-19 (employees with a medical or religious exemption were not subject to the surcharge).

Evaluating the Intervention

Pima County examined healthcare claims from employees during the surcharge period. Health care costs among the 568 unvaccinated employees were compared to the costs among the 4,400 vaccinated employees between October 1, 2021 & July 31, 2022.

The results were profound, but not surprising. The analysis showed healthcare costs among vaccinated team members were 38% lower than among unvaccinated employees. The health care cost to Pima County for unvaccinated staff was $768 per employee/month compared to $475/month for vaccinated employees.

The difference was seen across 7 of 10 categories of health care services and was driven overwhelmingly by differences in in-patient costs and specialty physician services.

See the Pima County Analysis Complete w/ Charts & Graphs

Editorial Note: Evidence-based interventions like this are now a thing of the past. Governor Ducey signed House Bill 2498 on April 25, 2022, which prevents any local government from implementing this type of intervention. The law becomes effective in about 10 days (September 24, 2022) eliminating the ability of all government employers to use this tool to protect their employees or customers.