Ask 2: Why is my insurance requested and billed if the COVID-19 vaccine is supposedly free?

FILE - A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. An announcement was expected as soon as this week, with doses beginning to be administered widely once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves the vaccines. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) (Robert F. Bukaty, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

At KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

Question: Why is my insurance requested and billed if the COVID-19 vaccine is supposedly free?

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Answer: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states on its website “FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are distributed for free by states and local communities... You do not need to pay any out-of-pocket costs to get an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.”

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that COVID-19 vaccines were paid for with taxpayer dollars and can be received by all people living in the United States, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

According to the CDC, vaccination providers cannot charge you for a vaccine, any administration fees, copays, or coinsurance.

However, vaccination providers can “seek appropriate reimbursement from the recipient’s plan or program (e.g., private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid) for a vaccine administration fee,” the CDC states on its website.

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