Federal employees with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program insurance can get $50 to spend on medical expenses by providing proof of their COVID-19 vaccination, the insurance company announced June 8.

Members of the insurance plan who are over 18 years old and provide official documentation of their vaccination status will get the money loaded onto their MyBlue Wellness Card beginning June 11.

“FEP remains committed to protecting the health of our members and we continuously look for innovative solutions to the challenges we face in our health care system,” said William A. Breskin, senior vice president of government programs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, in a news release.

“We’re proud to take part in the White House’s nationwide effort to help end the pandemic and encourage our members to get vaccinated and protect not only themselves, but their families and loved ones from this unforgiving virus.”

The incentive program is part of BCBS efforts to bolster the National Month of Action started by President Joe Biden to get at least 70 percent of the U.S. population vaccinated by July 4.

The BCBS federal employee plan covers 5.6 million federal employees, retirees and their families, according to the press release, which represents approximately 70 percent of the 8 million people who receive benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Vaccination rates across the federal government are difficult to come by, though the Department of Defense, the largest federal employer, reported that over 250,000 employees had been fully vaccinated as of June 9, representing about a third of its civilian workforce.

BCBS is not the first medical insurer to offer financial incentives for members to get the vaccine, though it is the first federal program to do so.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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