Feds, Insurers Will Pick Up Tab for First Round of Vaccines

With Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine on the cusp of FDA authorization, Moderna Inc.’s offering not far behind and AstraZeneca plc also touting promising results from its vaccine, in the coming months there will undoubtedly be a variety of vaccines being administered to Americans. While in normal circumstances private insurers might steer members toward one manufacturer’s vaccine over another, or even refuse to cover certain inoculations, policy experts say that the usual rules do not apply when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Few things in health policy are simple, but in the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, there is a very simple take-home message, which is that no one going to get the vaccine will be charged for the vaccine or its administration, no matter what type of insurance they have, or whether they have insurance at all,” Karyn Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), said during a Dec. 3 web briefing about vaccination logistics.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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