Secretary Becerra reiterated HHS’s commitment to continuing to partner with insurance providers to ensure consumers can receive updated COVID-19 vaccines without facing out-of-pocket expenses
On Wednesday, September 27, US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra met virtually with health insurance company leaders and national stakeholders to discuss how HHS will continue to partner with the private sector to ensure that people have access to updated COVID-19 vaccinations. This meeting is the latest in an ongoing series of talks between HHS and representatives from across the health care sector for more than a year in preparation for the commercialization of a vaccine.
During the meeting, Secretary Becerra highlighted the results of the important work being done to provide the American people with updated COVID-19 vaccines and testing kits. To date, more than six million vaccines have been delivered to pharmacies and more than six million COVID-19 tests have been ordered by users from COVIDTests.gov. Two million Americans have received the fall COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of their income or health insurance status, all Americans have free access to vaccines, including the uninsured through the CDC Bridge Access Program.
The group then discussed the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program and the work that insurance providers have done to resolve recent technical issues that have made it difficult for their members to receive a vaccine. Secretary Becerra expressed his appreciation to insurance carriers for taking immediate action to remedy these problems. The vendors have confirmed that they are working to quickly fix any issues. Secretary Becerra also reiterated that HHS will continue to work closely with providers until all issues are resolved. The group also discussed how providers can help their members better navigate provider websites and other systems to make getting their vaccine even easier.
The Biden-Harris administration has made it a key priority to provide widely available COVID-19 vaccines to the American public at no cost to them from their local provider, community health center or pharmacy. HHS continues to work closely with health insurance providers to ensure they meet their obligations to provide coverage for COVID-19 vaccines to participants, beneficiaries, and enrollees.
HHS has a strong track record of partnering with health insurance providers across the country to respond to COVID-19 and get people vaccinated against COVID-19.
The following representatives participated in the meeting:
- Margaret Murray, Chief Executive, Association for Community Engagement Plans (ACAP)
- Ceci Connolly, President/CEO, ACHP
- Michael Bagel, Director, Public Policy, Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP)
- Dan Jones, Vice President of Federal Affairs, ACHP
- Matt Ailes, President/CEO, American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
- Julie Miller, General Counsel, AHIP
- Kelly Schultz, Executive Director of Trade Policy, AHIP
- David Merritt, Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA)
- Chris Haltmeier, Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Policy, BCBSA
- Mary Beth Donahue, President and CEO, Better Medicare Alliance
- Karen Lynch, CEO, CVSHealth
- Bruce Broussard, President and CEO, Humana
- Michael Stone, Chief Operating Officer, UnitedHealth Care
- Cheryl Phillips, President and CEO, Special Needs Plan Alliance
- Brian Evanko, CFO, Cigna
- Elizabeth Hall, Vice President, Public Policy and Issues Management, Anthem
- Anthony Barrueta, Head of Government Affairs and Policy, Kaiser
- John Dinesman, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, Centene Corporation