Following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent action that authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for certain high-risk populations and a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will continue to provide coverage for this critical protection from the virus, including booster doses, without cost sharing.
Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines or their administration, and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance or deductible. In addition, thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), nearly all Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries must receive coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and their administration, without cost-sharing. COVID-19 vaccines and their administration, including boosters, will also be covered without cost-sharing for eligible consumers of most issuers of health insurance in the commercial market. People can visit vaccines.gov (English) or vacunas.gov (Spanish) to search for vaccines nearby.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has made the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines accessible and free to people across the country. CMS is ensuring that cost is not a barrier to access, including for boosters,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “CMS will pay Medicare vaccine providers who administer approved COVID-19 boosters, enabling people to access these vaccines at no cost.”
CMS continues to explore ways to ensure maximum access to COVID-19 vaccinations. More information regarding the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and how the COVID-19 vaccine is provided through that program at no cost to recipients is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html and through the CMS COVID-19 Provider Toolkit.
New Medicare.gov tool to compares nursing home vaccination rates
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is making it easier to check COVID-19 vaccination rates for nursing home staff and residents with a new feature on Medicare.gov. Today’s announcement makes vaccination data available in a user-friendly format to help people make informed decisions when choosing a nursing home for themselves or a loved one. CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are also continuing to use this data to monitor vaccine uptake among residents and staff and to identify facilities that may need additional resources or assistance to respond to the pandemic.
“CMS wants to empower nursing home residents, their families and caregivers with the information they need when choosing care providers for their loved ones. As we continue to work with our partners to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and keep nursing home residents safe, we want to give people a new tool to visualize this data to help them make informed decisions,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “CMS knows that nursing home staff want to protect their residents and is calling on them to get vaccinated now. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and accessible to all at no out-of-pocket cost.”
Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes have been required to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for both residents and staff since May, and CMS has been posting the information on the CMS COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website. The addition of this new consumer-friendly data feature is another valuable tool for patients, residents, and families to understand the quality of nursing homes when making health care decisions.