There has been some confusion over exactly who is entitled to the COVID Vaccine free of charge now that the vaccines are being shipped and administered. First people who have private insurance either through their employers or through the healthcare marketplace need not worry. Private insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and others have confirmed members will pay $0 for the vaccine.
“If the primary purpose of a patient’s visit is to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, BCBS companies will cover the vaccine, administration services, and the office visit at no cost-share to the patient, even if the appointment is out-of-network, per regulations issued by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” according to one report.
However, if a visit to a physician includes health services unrelated to COVID-19, the patient may be charged. If a patient receives additional, non-COVID-19 care at the same appointment, patients will be covered for those services in accordance with their health plan.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has made it clear that there will be no vaccine costs, administration fees, or deductibles for COVID vaccines through Medicare. However, these must be vaccines approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Some people are opting to wait before they get their COVID vaccines out of concern for safety. For how long will the vaccines be free? The vaccines and appointments will be free, at least throughout the pandemic emergency period. It’s unclear how much the vaccine could cost following the pandemic, but health insurance experts suspect people privately insured or on Medicare will still be able to get vaccinated at no cost.
Uninsured people will also be able to get vaccinated for free during the pandemic. “People without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can also get COVID-19 vaccine at no cost,” according to the CMS. Health care providers can submit reimbursement claims 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. After the pandemic, there may be a higher price for uninsured individuals.
Where Will Vaccines Be Administered?
Pharmacies, health clinics and your doctor’s office are the likely options for administering the vaccine. States are working on signing them up. Local health departments will also probably run mass vaccination clinics.
The government has made arrangements with CVS and Walgreen’s to administer the coronavirus vaccinations to residents and staff at long-term care facilities across the country.
Once doses are widely available, people will be able to use an existing government website, vaccinefinder.org, to find COVID-19 shots. The website is already used to find vaccines for the flu and other diseases.