Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to require COVID-19 vaccine for all employees
The new policy will apply to all employees, even those working remotely. The company had previously allowed employees to be vaccinated or submit to COVID-19 testing.
FARGO — All employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved accommodation by the new year, a company spokesperson said Wednesday, Oct. 27.
The new policy, which goes into effect Jan. 1, is a departure from the insurance company's previous policy, which required employees to either be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to work in person at the office or with customers.
The change in policy was prompted by Executive Order 14042 , which requires prime contractors of the Federal Employee Program to "provide adequate COVID-19 safeguards to their workers." President Joe Biden signed the order Sept. 9.
“We understand the importance of taking this step to meet our federal contractual requirements, but also to do our part as a health care leader to end the fight against COVID-19 in our region,” Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota CEO Dan Conrad said.
The new policy, which applies to those working remotely as well, also seeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
The company will provide medical or religious accommodations to qualified individuals, the company statement says. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota employs 856 people, including 644 working in the Peace Garden State and 212 working out of state.
Conrad noted that vaccination against COVID-19 has been shown to reduce treatment costs for the virus and that he hoped the new policy would not have a great impact on employees.