New Guidelines Will Affect The Insured

New Guidelines Will Affect The Insured

Kokomo — New federal guidelines regarding the administration of vaccinations for adults and children will result in more people paying for inoculations. The changes in the Vaccines for Children program will affect those with insurance, said Karen Long, immunization coordinator for the Howard County Health Department. It’s a federal entitlement program for people covered by Medicaid, as well as those who have no health insurance or are under-insured.

Changes will affect those who are fully insured. “The change is for people that have vaccination coverage in their health insurance policies,” Long said. “After July 1, families with health insurance coverage will have to go to a private physician.” Of those who have been receiving vaccinations from the health department, Long said, half have insurance coverage. But now, Long said, “The state has received a clear definition of what under-insured means.” Long said those with insurance coverage that requires a co-payment will now be considered fully insured. People with caps in their insurance policies, those who have coverage for only specific vaccinations or no insurance will continue to be eligible under the VFC program, she said. “We don’t charge for people on Medicaid or with no health insurance, for them there is no change,” Long said.

Long said the new guidelines take effect July 1, but there is a transition period for those patients wishing to obtain vaccinations at a minimal cost. “Parents have a few months to make a policy decision,” she said. “There is a period of time for transition.” Long said it’s unclear how many children will be impacted by the change in the guidelines, noting in 2010 there were 12,000 vaccinations given to children. “There is some concern,” she said. “People with deductibles won’t get immunizations or decide what vaccination to get.”

The health department charges a $14 administrative fee per child with a maximum charge of $42 per family for vaccinations. Many people don’t know what insurance coverage they have and should check on their plans, she said. “If an insurance policy covers immunization, families should take advantage of it,” Long said. “This will stretch the resources we have.”

Tribune staff writer The Kokomo Tribune

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