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May 07, 2021

Health Law Weekly

New Fund Will Cover Provider Costs for Administering COVID-19 to Underinsured Patients, HHS Says

  • May 07, 2021

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is launching a new program to ensure health care providers that vaccinate patients for COVID-19 are reimbursed for administration fees not covered by their insurance, the agency announced May 3.

“We listened to our healthcare providers on the frontlines of the pandemic. On top of increasing reimbursement rates tied to administering the shots, we are closing the final payment gap that resulted as vaccines were administered to underinsured individuals,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

The COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund (CAF) will compensate providers at national Medicare rates for individuals whose insurance either does not cover the shots or that requires patient cost sharing. Providers participating in the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination program are not permitted to bill patients for vaccination fees, leaving a gap in payment if an individual is underinsured. 

The federal government already reimburses providers for administering vaccines to uninsured individuals. The CAF is funded through the Provider Relief Fund Program, HHS said.