Numerous issues such as insurance delay and canceled appointments have prevented several persons from acquiring the new shots, which is expected to protect them in the upcoming respiratory virus season. Experts have confirmed that the hiccups are expected, considering the large vaccine rollout amidst the shift in payment policy to private insurers.
With the rollout facing bumps, appointments have had to be canceled due to supply issues. In some cases, the billing codes did not cover the shots. Walgreens has confirmed that the appointments being canceled were a result of delivery delays across the country.
In a statement by Alex Huseman from the Alaska Health Department, “Vaccines are being delayed by slow shipments and backlogs. Private providers hopefully can get them as early as next week.”
Millions of the vaccines were earlier shipped off to clinics and pharmacies across the country after their approval by the CDC. The current hamper in the process could be a result of the change in payment policy for COVID-19 vaccination. Up until recently, the government used to cover the cost of receiving all COVID-19 vaccines. However, public and private health insurers now have to cater to the full process of vaccination for their beneficiaries and enrollees.
With the rollout being snarled, consumers and pharmacies have begun to complain about the issues they are facing. “I receive a lot of phone calls from people asking when the vaccine will be available,” Marwa Bakr, a private pharmacy owner in Milwaukee, said. She confirmed that the commercial process is taking longer than expected. Yet, people continue to ask for available doses.
Most persons affected have taken to social media to express their displeasure about being charged between $125 to $190 for a dose. Others have complained that they were only informed that their insurance did not cover the new vaccine at the point of receiving. With these posts online, people are beginning to question if the vaccines are truly accessible, as reported by the Health Departments.
A consumer, Patrick Dye narrated how he faced roadblocks while making several calls to acquire the vaccines immediately after they became available. Dye said he could not get the vaccine at his doctor’s office. Because they were not available and upon calling his insurer, he was informed that he could only be covered by a shot received from his doctor. Though he later got his shot at a CVS pharmacy, he said it was unfair how consumers had to work so hard to get vaccinated for their protection.
Similarly, Victoria Sanchez confirmed she had scheduled for a vaccine shot and was given an appointment date. However, she received a text a day before stating that the vaccine is not available. On reaching out to CVS, a spokesperson informed her that the delay was due to delivery to select stores and insurers still setting their system to cover the vaccine cost. The spokesperson ensured all canceled appointments will be rescheduled for a later date.
Speaking to CNBB, a CMS spokesperson confirmed that they are aware of the difficulty faced by consumers in accessing the vaccines. Furthermore, they are currently reaching out to ensure health insurers are updating their policies to provide enough coverage for their enrollees. With the ongoing controversy, Moderna and Pfizer have confirmed that there is no shortage of vaccines, as several million doses have been “shipped and delivered for 2023-2024.”
Nationwide, a vaccination costs between $100 to $200, with an additional administrative fee when insurance does not cover the payment. Fortunately for uninsured persons, the government has plans to initiate a federal program. Which will enable people to receive four tests per household for free.
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