Beneficiaries under Medicare are now eligible to get a free early approval vaccine for Covid-19, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have made a rule change, to allow full coverage for an approved COVID vaccine, even if it has emergency use authorization. According to them, the cost of getting everyone on Medicare to be vaccinated would be $2.6 billion.
The CARES Act, was signed into law earlier this year in March. It allows for a no cost sharing for a Covid-19 vaccine for Medicare beneficiaries. This is a special dispensation as standard Medicare rules apply only to vaccines that undergo a strict standard approval process for new biologics. However, the laws have been updated to include fast tracked vaccines due to the pandemic as it’s essential to control the spread of the coronavirus at the earliest.
It is expected that the government will make available small quantities of an early vaccine to high risk individuals. The majority of these are at age 65 and above and most of them are already under Medicare. Medicare would pay $28.29 if a single dose vaccine is required and $16.94 for the first and $28.29 for the second, for a double dose vaccine.
Many pharmaceutical companies are fiercely competing to bring in a vaccine. Pfizer will apply for emergency use authorization of its vaccine by November 2020.