MoneyConsumerDon't Waste Your Money


Some people are being charged for the COVID -19 vaccine

Warren County couple receives bill in mail
Posted at 2:42 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 15:05:07-04

The federal government is spending billions of dollars on the COVID-19 vaccines, which, in return, means the shot is supposed to be free for those who get it.

So why are some people being charged? That's what some people are wondering after they received bills for their shots.

Tim and Vickie Gobin of Maineville, Ohio were excited to receive their COVID-19 shots in March, but when they arrived at The Little Clinic inside a local Kroger store, they were surprised they had to give an insurance card.

"I said 'why do you need our insurance card, I thought this was all free,'" Vickie Gobin said. "The nurse told me that is just a way to track you."

So she handed over her card.

"Nothing was said about any charge or fee, so I got my shot, no big deal. But 10 days later I got my bill," she said.

It was a bill for $45, from The Little Clinic's Nashville headquarters.

Luckily it said the Gobins owed only $11 after insurance.

"They paid $33.30 of that $45, and the remainder was billed to us," Tim Gobin said.

But everything they heard was that the vaccine was supposed to be free, which is why the Gobins reached out.

Why you may get charged a small fee

So we checked with the CDC, which explains that while the vaccine is paid for by the government, some providers may charge a small "administrative fee" that should be covered by your insurance or Medicare.

Unfortunately, even if you ask up front, it's tough to know if you are going to get hit with an administrative fee.

But based on Reddit complaintsand news reports from around the country, it seems most of the issues concern pharmacies and grocery stores, with the fewest complaints at mass vaccination clinics.

A Kroger spokeswoman told us that their pharmacies and The Little Clinic are not charging for the shot, but that sometimes insurance companies may not fully cover the administrative fee.

"Vaccine doses will be provided at no cost to patients," Erin Rolfes told us. In addition, "the CDC states that individuals without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of COVID-19 vaccines can also get a COVID-19 vaccine at no cost."

She suggests customers call the pharmacy if they are billed.

Medicare has agreed to pay up to $40 extra per shot for administrative fees, though some insurance companies may not pay that much.

Tim Gobin thinks that's not right.

"If I am just one of thousands that this may be occurring to, that adds up to a lot of money," he said

The pharmacy saving site says if you get a charge, call the pharmacy or your insurer, and many of them should drop your portion of the bill.

That way you don't waste your money.


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