Several uninsured people in Snohomish County wrongly billed for COVID-19 vaccine

The Snohomish County office of social justice says it has received several reports of uninsured people wrongly charged for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone in the United States regardless of immigration or health insurance status, but Alessandra Durham with the Snohomish County office of social justice says some community members were being charged 80 to 100 dollars for the vaccine.

"We received several calls from our marginalized community members and historically excluded communities. Anytime we learn it’s happening, it’s problematic," said Durham.

Durham said the improper charges are happening in area pharmacies and not hospitals. She is working to educate pharmacies on what can and cannot be billed.

"We don’t believe this is some nefarious attempt by the pharmacies in any measure. This is a new process for everyone. For us, the priority is that as we do hear about these incidents, that we educate our community members so that misinformation doesn’t spread," said Durham.

The CDC says COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot:
- Charge you for the vaccine
- Deny vaccination to anyone who is uninsured or is out of network
- Charge an office visit or other fee
- Require additional services in order for a person to receive a covid vaccine.

Providers can however seek reimbursement from the patient’s insurance plan or program. If a patient is uninsured, providers can seek reimbursement from the Health Resource Services Administration’s (HRSA) COVID-19 uninsured program.

The state’s office of the Insurance Commissioner also received a handful of complaints and wants to hear from you if you were charged for the vaccine. You can file your complaint here.

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