WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Tina Smith (D-MN) today introduced legislation to require private health insurance plans to cover treatments or vaccines for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, with no cost sharing.
“When a vaccine is released for coronavirus, it needs to be available for all Americans as soon as possible. Vaccine coverage by insurance companies is key to this. This bill ensures that coverage,” said Dr. Cassidy, a physician with a background in public health and immunizations and a member of the Senate Health Committee.
“We have to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This bill will allow Americans to rapidly access vaccines for this novel coronavirus as soon as they are available. Congress should immediately pass the Rapid Coverage for Coronavirus Vaccines and Treatments Act as part of a robust response to this virus,” said Jones, a member of the Senate Health Committee.
“Amid this public health emergency, it’s critical that we prepare to protect the health and safety of people in Minnesota and across the country in every possible way,” said Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “One of the many steps we should take is to expedite the process requiring insurers to cover the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. This coverage could help more folks access treatment and offer some economic relief to families. I’m glad to help introduce this bipartisan effort and will work to move it forward.”
“This bipartisan bill mitigates the coronavirus outbreak by ensuring that folks have access to testing and vaccines without costs,” said Daines. “Montana families need access to these important preventive services, and financial barriers should not stand in the way during this national emergency.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, private health plans are required to cover preventive services that receive a rating of A or B by the United States Preventive Health Services Task Force (USPSTF) and immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) with no cost sharing.
The Rapid Coverage for Coronavirus Vaccines Act would require private insurance plans to cover, with no cost sharing, any coronavirus treatment or vaccine that gets an A or B rating by the USPSTF or is recommended by ACIP no later than 15 business days after the recommendation to ensure Americans receive timely coverage.