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Is the vaccine free? In most cases, yes

The CDC has said that providers in many cases may not bill the patient directly for the vaccine.

SAN ANTONIO — Texas leads the nation in uninsured adults, so as many weigh the decision as to whether they should be vaccinated against coronavirus, the question of cost may come to mind. According to Metro Health, in most cases, patients shouldn’t be billed for the vaccine itself or administration of the vaccine.

"Doctors offices or any other provider administering this vaccine cannot charge people receiving this regardless of their health insurance status or their immigration status,” explained Assistant Metro Health Director, Anita Kurian. 

”COVID-19 vaccine providers — they cannot charge you for the vaccine. They cannot charge you directly for any administrative fees, copays or coinsurance. They cannot deny vaccination to anyone who does not have any health insurance or is underinsured or out of network,” she said.

Though, Dr. Kurian explained patients may be charged for an office visit if medical services beyond the administration of the vaccine are rendered. According to the CDC, providers may not require you to receive other services in order to get the vaccine. 

While providers are allowed to bill insurance companies and seek reimbursement from the federal government, the CDC has said medical providers may not directly bill the patient.

Those who suspect violations of federal guidelines can submit a report to the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services at TIPS.HHS.GOV or by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS. 

Dr. Kurian said while she hasn’t heard of any area providers charging people to administer the vaccine, the health authority saw schemes with the sale of unapproved COVID-19 tests at popup shops across the city. For that reason, she urges caution if you are charged for the vaccine.

“Bottom line, you have to be cautious if someone is offering to sell you a vaccine or trying to get you in at a low, low cost, be very conscious of that,” Dr. Kurian said. "It could very well be a scam."