Medicare won’t cover coronavirus vaccines approved under emergency use authorization

Medicare won’t cover the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine if it is approved under an emergency use authorization, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

The White House recently concluded that Medicare’s exclusion of emergency-use drug costs could mean 44 million Americans, or 15 percent of the U.S. population, may have to pay out-of-pocket for a vaccine if it is approved under an emergency use authorization, the Journal reported. 

HHS is now exploring coverage options, and a spokesperson told the Journal any vaccine doses bought by the government will be provided free. 

The administration of President Donald Trump has pushed for a COVID-19 vaccine to be approved and distributed before the presidential election, which would likely only come with an emergency use authorization, since FDA approvals take more time. 

In March, lawmakers passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which ensures no out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 vaccines for people on Medicare. 

HHS also said in August that government health insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, would cover the costs of administering a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Read the full article here.

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