COVID-19 Vaccines Are Free, So Why Are You Asked For Insurance Information?

Vaccines shouldn't cost you anything regardless of your insurance coverage, but someone is paying for it. [CL Shebley / Shutterstock]
Vaccines shouldn't cost you anything regardless of your insurance coverage, but someone is paying for it. [CL Shebley / Shutterstock]
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What are your questions about the coronavirus vaccine?

ideastream's health team is answering as many questions as possible, with help from local experts in a range of fields. You can send us your questions with our online form, through our social media group, or call us at 216-916-6476. We'll keep the answers coming on our website and on the air.

Nora asked on Twitter: “I'm wondering why my husband, who works in a school, has to provide information about his health insurance prior to getting the vaccine. I didn't think insurance companies were being charged?"

The COVID-19 vaccine shouldn't cost you anything regardless of your insurance coverage, but someone is paying for it. 

The Ohio Department of Health said that while vaccines are free to people who receive them, they are purchased with taxpayer dollars.

Providers, like hospitals and drug store chains, can still seek reimbursement for administration fees.

Sometimes additional staff members are needed to administer the vaccine and manage quality control, to handle vaccine appointment sign-ups, and to perform data entry,  said Case Western Reserve University law and bioethics professor Sharona Hoffman.

“There’s a lot of administration involved and presumably they’re having to hire some extra people to do all of that work,” Hoffman said.

But even if you don’t have insurance, you can still get the vaccine for free, Hoffman said.

In that situation, providers can apply to the government for reimbursement instead of an insurance company.

The federal government gave money to pharmaceutical companies for the research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine in Operation Warp Speed.

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