RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – President Joe Biden’s administration has set a Jan. 4 deadline for companies with more than 100 employees to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing.
Employees who opt for weekly testing may have to pay out of pocket.
CBS17 checked with three of the largest insurance providers in the area and found out Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare don’t cover COVID-19 testing for employment purposes. That means employees will have to cover the cost themselves.
If you don’t have insurance, CVS charges $139 for the test. At Walgreens, it cost $129. One test every week adds up to more than $500 a month. Assistance is available for some people, but it’s not guaranteed.
Wake County Public Health doesn’t check for insurance and offers free COVID-19 testing for everyone. But it’s unclear if that will still be the case come Jan. 4.
Josh Dobson, North Carolina labor commissioner calls the federal government’s new mandate for big companies a burden for workers and thinks it’ll add to the labor shortage.
“Between the $100+ cost per week that they may have to bear that burden in addition to fear of losing their job,” said Dobson. “I don’t think you can put into words what a burden this is going to be on the employees of NC that we’re all trying to protect.”
Dobson’s office is tasked with enforcing the federal government’s new vaccine and testing mandate for companies with over 100 employees. But Dobson said his office is dealing with a worker shortage itself.
The North Carolina Department of Labor has around 100 compliance officers statewide.
“I’ve been vaccinated, I encourage all of our employees to be vaccinated, my family is vaccinated,” said Dobson. “But in this ETS, they did not give us any additional resources, any additional employees, or any additional funding to enforce this.”