Vaccines free for seniors and the privately insured, but not for those without insurance, Trump administration announces

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Credit: Silvio Avila/AFP

Seniors and people in private health-insurance plans are among those who won’t be charged for getting a coronavirus vaccine under a Trump administration rule designed to ensure that as many people as possible get vaccinated once a shot becomes available.

Medicare will cover the cost of administering the vaccine for seniors under a plan released [October 28].

In addition, the administration will require all providers of Covid-19 tests to post their cash prices for the tests online, and failure to do so could result in fines of up to $300 a day. Federal law requires private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid to cover tests—but doesn’t guarantee people without insurance get no-cost tests. The fines aim to ensure there is price disclosure around any possible out-of-pocket costs for tests. Insurers also use the cash price when determining reimbursement.

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The administration rule also will provide increased Medicare payments for new Covid-19 treatments as soon as they become available.

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“Now we’re seeing this greater effort on how we are going to get every American vaccinated,” said Seema Verma, administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “We’re coordinating across the entire health care delivery system, private and public.”

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