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Booster vaccine against COVID-19: who should pay for it and what to do if you were cheated

Although months have passed since the introduction of vaccinations, many are concerned that vaccinations will be expensive. Experts say this misconception could prevent people from getting vaccinated. The edition told in more detail Very well health.

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COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are free

Vaccines and boosters (additional doses) from COVID-19 is being offered free of charge to anyone living in the United States, even those without health insurance, thanks to funds from American taxpayers.

“It is in the government's interest to cover the cost of an effective vaccine that can protect the health of residents,” said Jackson Higginbottom, COVID-19 Liaison Coordinator for Community Alliance for Research and Engagement. - We know vaccines protect against hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. This reduces any costs associated with treatment, hospitalization and loss of wages that the government may incur. ”

Through federal funding and partnerships with health insurance companies, the government can provide vaccines and boosters free of charge to everyone.

"Booster shots are likely to work in the same way as the initial introduction of vaccines in the United States," said Matthew Eisenberg, Ph.D., assistant professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Patients must make an appointment or go to the clinic for a booster shot."

Although vaccine providers are allowed to claim reimbursements from private and public insurance companies, they cannot pass these costs onto their customers.

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"Patients will most likely be asked to provide a copy of their insurance card," explains Eisenberg. - If the patient has insurance, the provider will bill the patient's insurance for the cost of the booster. If not, the provider will bill the federal government for the cost of the booster. Under no circumstances should a patient be required to pay for the vaccine. ”

What does this mean to you

The booster shot is free - regardless of your immigration or health insurance status. If you have been billed, dispute the bill with your vaccine provider or report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

Cost is a barrier to vaccination

It is important that COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are free of charge because paying for them will become a barrier, especially for people on low incomes.

“We know from health economics research that some patients may be sensitive to anticipated out-of-pocket costs, causing them to postpone or abandon expensive care altogether,” says Eisenberg. "Given the enormous individual and societal benefits of widespread vaccination, it makes sense that the federal government would want to remove as many possible barriers to vaccination as possible, including cost."

Many Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated, not for safety or efficacy reasons, but for the perceived financial cost. This misconception or skepticism about the free use of a vital public health tool has led some to postpone vaccinations.

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“When the COVID-19 vaccines first became available to the public, there was a lot of misinformation in the community that you had to pay for them or you need health insurance to get vaccinated,” explains Higginbottom. "Initially, we met people who were not vaccinated just because they did not have health insurance."

According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation back in April, 32% of Americans are worried that they will have to pay their own costs for the COVID-19 vaccine. Black adults (37%) and Hispanics (52%) were more likely to express this concern than white adults (24%).

“In the US, people of non-whites are less likely to get health insurance than whites. Therefore, as we have seen, the communities of these races are most affected by COVID-19, Higginbottom emphasized. - Studies have shown that uninsured people have less access to health care than those who are insured, and often go without the necessary treatment because of the cost. If these vaccines weren't free, cost concerns would be a barrier for many, especially for uninsured people. ”

What if you get billed

Health care providers can claim reimbursement from health insurers for the vaccine they receive, but they are not required to bill individuals.

If you have been charged a revaccination fee, you can report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

“According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot charge you for the vaccine or for any associated costs,” Higginbottom says. - If you are billed for your COVID-19 vaccine, do not pay. Contact your healthcare provider or insurer to resolve the situation. "

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If someone asks you to pay for your COVID-19 vaccine, don't hesitate - it's a scam. Do not give your personal or financial information if you receive a call, SMS or email an offer to get a vaccine for an additional fee, the official website says. CDC.

COVID-19 vaccine providers cannot:

  • Charge a fee for vaccination
  • Claim any administration fees or surcharges directly from you
  • Deny vaccinations for those without health insurance
  • Charge the patient an office visit or other fee if the only service provided is COVID-19 vaccination
  • Require additional services for a person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine providers can:

  • Apply for appropriate reimbursement from the patient's insurance company (eg, private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid). However, they cannot charge the recipient of the vaccine for the remainder of the bill
  • Contact the federal government for appropriate compensation for uninsured vaccine recipients

Jurisdictions (state, tribal, local, and territorial) cannot impose requirements for US citizenship or insist on proof of US citizenship as a condition for vaccination.

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