/ Modified sep 7, 2021 2:31 p.m.

Pima County will raise health insurance costs for unvaccinated employees

County employees who have not gotten their shots will see a health insurance discount slashed and a new surcharge.

360 pima county admin File image of the Pima County Administration Building in downtown Tucson.
AZPM Staff

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to raise health insurance costs for employees who do not get vaccinated.

County employees who have not gotten their shots will see a health insurance discount slashed and a new surcharge as early as October.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry told the board in a memo that would amount to an extra $1,573 a year for each unvaccinated employee.

But employees with a valid medical or religious exemption will not be penalized.

The board approved the plan by a vote of 4-1, with Supervisor Steve Christy opposed.

Christy called the plan unconstitutional.

"This is discriminatory segregation of those who have the right to choose what type of procedures they want, with their own conscience," he said.

Supervisor Adelita Grijalva called some of the vaccination rates in county departments a cause for concern, though. She said only about 30% of the sheriff's department is vaccinated, for example.

The board of supervisors previously rejected a plan to require employees get vaccinated.

The county instead offered an incentive of $300 and an extra three days leave to every employee who gets their shots.

Huckelberry said only 43% of the county's employees were known to be vaccinated when the board approved the incentives. That rate had increased to 66%, he said Tuesday.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona