CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield retains 99% of employees after vaccine mandate

Brian D. Pieninck, president and CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, announced the company’s successful implementation of its COVID-19 vaccine requirement, which ended this week. CareFirst is the largest insurer in the mid-Atlantic region, covering over 3.5 million members across Washington D.C, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

 

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In August, CareFirst employees and the Board of Directors were directed to attest to being fully vaccinated by Oct. 15, or obtain a medical or religious exemption by Nov. 1 in order to retain their employment with the company. 

Pieninck said that as of Nov. 1, 95% of employees were fully vaccinated and 4% obtained an approved exemption. According to the company’s website, CareFirst employs about 8,000 associates and contractors across its service area. Regarding employees who did not comply with the mandate, Pieninck said in his statement: 

“One percent of our employees made what we recognize was a deeply personal decision to separate from the CareFirst team. We thank them for their service and wish them the best.”

Pieninick also said details are forthcoming in the “next several months” on the company’s transition from remote work back into its offices.

“We’re reviewing policies to make sure we address the range of issues and questions that will arise with bringing people back together in person. Throughout our work, we’re thoughtfully developing clear and actionable guidelines and communications that keep the health and safety of our workforce as a top priority, including now requiring all visitors to CareFirst offices to be fully vaccinated.”

CareFirst is among several public and private employers who have implemented vaccine mandates across the mid-Atlantic as a response to the case surge brought on by the Delta variant, as well as in preparation for a possible winter surge.

The most recent data from the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) show hospitalizations and cases in both states steadily decreasing from the Delta variant surge in early September. Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. are all well above the national fully vaccinated average of 52.8%.