By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
Thanks to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and all the front-line workers, Oklahoma has now entered Phase 4 of its vaccine distribution plan. With three COVID-19 vaccines available, all Oklahomans are now eligible for vaccination. As we’re on track to get our “normal” back, I’d like to remind you that the cost of obtaining a vaccine will not be a barrier for Oklahomans, regardless of health insurance status.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides funding for the vaccine itself. It also requires most health insurance companies to cover qualifying coronavirus preventive services without imposing any cost-sharing requirements, such as a copay, coinsurance or deductible. If you are covered under Medicare or Medicaid, your vaccine will be paid for by the Medicare’s trust fund. If you don’t have insurance, your vaccine is still covered. Healthcare providers will get reimbursed through the Provider Relief Fund.
If you received an unexpected bill for a COVID-19 vaccine or qualifying associated visit, you should contact the provider or your insurance company and alert them of the error. If you have issues with your health insurance company regarding a bill related to COVID-19, please file a complaint with the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) at www.oid.ok.gov/ or contact the Consumer Assistant at 800-522-0071. Also, here are some key takeaways to avoid fraud related to COVID-19 vaccines.
* You don’t need to pay to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Visit the OSDH’s website to make your appointment. You can also ask your doctor or provider how to get the vaccine near where you live.
* Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is free. Whether you have health insurance or not, the vaccines are always free. Providers can seek reimbursement from your insurance company, but there are no co-pays or cost-sharing. If you’re asked to pay money, contact the OID at 800-522-0071.
* You cannot buy a COVID-19 vaccine. Please do not fall for the ads that come via email or pop up on your social media feed offering early access to a vaccine. The vaccine is available only at federal and state-approved locations.
* Vaccinations will not impact your life insurance benefits. Life insurance policies clearly spell out what might cause your insurer to deny a benefit. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine would not void a policyholder’s life insurance coverage. Contact your agent if you have questions or concerns about the details of your policy.
* Never give out your personal financial information. No one from a vaccine distribution site, state agency, healthcare provider’s office, insurance company or Medicare will contact you to ask for your Social Security, credit card or bank account number to get the vaccine.
For more insurance information, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.