California Insurers Waive Flu Shot Co-Pay

October 8, 2009

California ‘s six largest health insurers will waive co-pays and deductibles to make sure their members can all get the H1N1 flu vaccine, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced yesterday.

“I am pleased that Aetna, Anthem/Blue Cross, Blue Shield, CIGNA, HealthNet and United HealthCare/Pacificare have agreed to put the health of consumers first by waiving costs for the H1N1 flu vaccine during what we anticipate to be a tremendously difficult flu season,” said Commissioner Poizner, in a prepared statement. “Action taken by these insurers will help us prevent the spread of what is a potential flu epidemic. Now that the insurers are easing the way, I urge their members to take advantage and get immunized. Policyholders should pay special attention to communications from their insurer to understand exactly what they will need to do.”

Poizner said he and officials of the Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Public Health had sent a letter to every health insurer in California, outlining statewide goals for administration of the soon-to-be released vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus.

Because the flu strain appears to be more contagious than usual, it is important that the appropriate risk groups be vaccinated.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the target groups for vaccination include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems. More information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/public/vaccination_qa_pub.htm.

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