UNITED STATES— The Trump administration is set to announce that Medicare and Medicaid will cover out-of-pocket costs for a potential COVID-19 vaccine when granted emergency use authorization. It is unclear whether President Trump himself will make the announcement, but it is expected on Tuesday, October 27 or Wednesday, October 28.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma teased the announcement in mid-October, saying, “I think we’ve figured out a path forward. It was very clear that Congress wants to make sure that Medicare beneficiaries have this vaccine and that there isn’t any cost-sharing.”
Officials have been working for weeks to alter regulations to allow for Medicare and Medicaid recipients to receive vaccines.
There are four U.S. Phase 3 trials of coronavirus vaccines as part of the government’s Operation Warp Speed. OSW aims to deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses by January 2021, and provide them free of charge.
“In terms of a principle and an aspiration, it’ll be that no American has to pay a single dime out of pocket to get a vaccine,” said Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health Human Services, in September.
On Sunday, October 25, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that experts will know by early December whether a potential coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective, however, it is likely that there will not be widespread availability until 2021.