Trump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report


President Trump’s administration plans to announce that coronavirus vaccines will be covered under Medicare and Medicaid once they are full developed and released, Politico reported Monday.

Four people with knowledge of the pending announcement told Politico that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to cover vaccines that receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Current policy does not permit Medicare and Medicaid to cover out-of-pocket costs for vaccines approved that way. 

The administration has reportedly been working on the initiative for weeks and expects to announce the change in policy on Tuesday or Wednesday.

At least two vaccine developers have said they intend to apply before the end of the year for an emergency use authorization, which allows the vaccine to be distributed before official FDA approval during a state of emergency.

One official told Politico that the administration is “working to ensure that no American has to pay for the vaccine.” The expected plan will also address other COVID-19 issues such as permitting more flexibility for Medicaid patients looking for coronavirus treatment, two people familiar with the plan told the news outlet. 

CMS and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma reportedly said earlier this month at the HLTH virtual conference, “I think we’ve figured out a path forward” on the coronavirus vaccine.

“It was very clear that Congress wants to make sure that Medicare beneficiaries have this vaccine and that there isn’t any cost-sharing,” she said.

“And so, stay tuned, you’ll see more from the agency on this very shortly,” she added.

The administration announced a partnership with CVS and Walgreens when a vaccine is authorized that would not impose out-of-pocket costs on seniors and health workers in long-term care facilities. But that agreement only covered a fraction of the Medicare users in the country.

Tags Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Coronavirus coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 Donald Trump emergency use authorization FDA Food and Drug Administration Medicaid Medicare Pandemic Vaccine
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