President Biden has just finalized deals to provide 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of July. As the vaccine becomes available to more people, one of the most frequently asked questions is whether or not it will come with unexpected costs such as copays or administrative fees.
“Will I have to pay to cover my vaccine?” The official answer is: No! The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all Americans, no matter, if you have Medicare, private insurance, or, are uninsured throughout the pandemic.
Health insurance experts suspect people with private insurance and Medicare will still be able to get vaccinated at no additional cost after the pandemic but are unsure of the status for uninsured individuals.
If you have private insurance or Medicare:
According to guidelines released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the vaccine will be covered for people with private insurance. Under the Public Health Service Act, health insurers whose plans are subjected to the coverage of preventive services without a cost-sharing requirement are not allowed to bill patients for the administrative costs of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Private insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and Oscar Health have already confirmed that their members will pay $0 for the vaccine. BCBS has said that if a patient visits a provider for the vaccine but their visit includes services unrelated to COVID-19, they may be charged in accordance with their health plan.
For people on Medicare, there will be no costs, administrative fees, or deductibles for vaccines that are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you are uninsured:
During the pandemic, uninsured people will also be able to get vaccinated for free. Healthcare providers that administer the vaccine to uninsured people will need to submit a reimbursement claim to the Provider Relief Fund. The fund is handled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which will reimburse healthcare providers.
Providers who participate in and are reimbursed by the Provider Relief Fund, a part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program, aren’t allowed to bill people without insurance.
Uninsured patients may be hit with a fee if the provider doesn’t submit a claim to the relief fund.
There are no steps uninsured people will need to take prior to getting vaccinated, the HSRA spokesperson confirmed.
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