Health Insurance Provider Actions Concerning The COVID-19 Vaccines

posted by AHIP

on May 11, 2021

As COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Expands And More Registrations Become Available, Health Insurance Providers Have Increasingly Focused Their COVID-19 Actions On Improving Vaccine Acceptance And Access.

Learn more about health insurance providers actions on COVID-19 vaccines. We’re are updating this page regularly.

  • Aetna is waiving member cost-sharing related to the COVID-19 vaccination for Commercial and Medicaid members. For Medicare, CMS has indicated it will cover the full cost of the vaccine for all Medicare beneficiaries, including those in a Medicare Advantage plan, in 2020 and 2021.
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has joined with Hayat Pharmacy and Unite WI to turn a Milwaukee barber shop into a COVID-19 vaccination site. Gee’s Clippers will operate as a clinic every Saturday through April 17.
    • Anthem – National Government Services Inc., an independent subsidiary of Anthem Inc, has been awarded a contract from HHS to provide project management and project planning for the implementation of the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program for participating HRSA-supported health centers and their clinical services delivery. The Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, a partnership between HRSA and CDC, is intended to address health equity in vaccine delivery by providing a direct supply of COVID-19 vaccines to health centers who serve hard-to-reach and disproportionately affected populations.
  • Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has launched Vaccinate the Natural State, an initiative in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas Council, UAMS, and Walmart. The statewide initiative will educate Arkansans about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage individuals to get the vaccine as soon as possible – by doing so they will be taking a critical step toward helping end the pandemic. The campaign, which launches in mid-March, will have two primary focuses: business-to-business engagement and hyper-local community engagement. To support Arkansas’ business community, Arkansas Blue Cross is partnering with the Arkansas State Chamber and AFMC to provide objective information and educational resources, video modules, communication toolkits, and outreach to help guide businesses through the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. Through this effort, business owners and leaders will be equipped to confidently lead their organizations as more COVID-19 vaccines are made available and be armed with the knowledge to guide their employees through the vaccination process and getting employees back to work.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Feeding America have announced a new partnership aimed at increasing equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine by providing trusted clinical information that highlights the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination. Through this partnership, BCBSA and Feeding America will lean into a network of 200 food banks—that reach more than 40 million people across the United States—to share clinical information and educational materials highlighting the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.As part of the partnership, BCBSA will provide Feeding America and food banks nationally with English and Spanish educational materials, such as social media posts, posters, and question-and-answer documents that draw on information from trusted sources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and BCBSA clinical experts. The goal is to help dispel common myths about the vaccine that may prevent people from getting it. Local food banks will be able to leverage these materials on their own digital channels and at their brick and mortar food pantry locations.BCBSA and Feeding America will also partner to create web-based public health modules and additional materials over the next twelve months, covering critical health topics such as COVID-19, vaccinations, and the importance of health equity to help enhance health education within the communities that Feeding America network food banks serve. These modules will build on Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ commitment to ensure the equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and further promote vaccinations.
  • Blue Shield of California, the state of California’s third-party administrator, has successfully transitioned the state’s enhanced COVID-19 vaccine provider network that can administer 5.5 million doses a week to help save more lives.The dramatically increased capacity is the result of collaboration between state health officials, local health jurisdictions, and about 300 providers throughout the state who operate nearly 2,200 vaccination sites.
    • Blue Shield of California has launched “Get it,” a new advertising campaign to encourage all Californians to get vaccinated – and protected – from COVID-19. Blue Shield of California has produced television and radio commercials in English and Spanish, which started airing this week in media markets across the state, especially in communities most impacted by COVID-19.
    • Blue Shield of California is supporting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strategy to efficiently and equitably administer vaccines to fight COVID-19. Blue Shield will work closely with Yolanda Richardson, secretary of the Government Operations Agency, who leads the state vaccine team, to help expand the efficient and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the state. Blue Shield’s role will be to maximize the speed at which vaccinations are made available across California with a focus on disparately affected communities. More details about the Blue Shield’s role on the program will be released in the coming days. Blue Shield of California has signed a contract with the state of California to be its Third Party Administrator to help optimize and accelerate the allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines equitably, efficiently, and safely throughout the state. The nonprofit health plan is not charging the state for its staff time devoted to this effort. It will only bill the state actual expenses to support the vaccine network up to the limit of the contract.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City has created a series of video interviews with community leaders emphasizing the health benefits and importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 S.A.F.E. (Simple, Accessible, Free and Easy) Series features experienced moderators Cynthia Newsome of 41 Action News and Julee Jonez from KPRS Hot 103 Jamz, and panelists such as Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Bobby Bell and Dr. Toni Zink from the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center.

    The series, released on The Blue KC Channel on YouTube and promoted through Blue KC social media platforms and shared via Blue KC Community Partner social networks, addresses COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the Black community and includes a discussion from trusted voices about their personal vaccine experience, myths, latest developments and how to get the vaccine.

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is partnering with 100 Black Men in Baton Rouge and New Orleans to reach out and provide resources to minority communities.  Their outreach aims to make everyone, especially those at a higher risk for COVID-19, feel safe, prepared and comfortable getting the vaccine as soon as they can.As part of both organizations’ commitment to health equity, they are working together to educate residents in Black and Hispanic communities about the vaccine. They will jointly advocate for fairness and greater access in how the vaccine is distributed. This can help increase overall vaccination rates.To educate Louisianians about the COVID-19 vaccines, Blue Cross and 100 Black Men are hosting virtual events. Representatives of both organizations will share vaccination facts and answer participants’ questions.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is sponsoring free Bluebikes rides to and from vaccination sites located within the Bluebikes system. A $1 million commitment toward transportation to and from vaccination sites in underserved communities across the state, in partnership with Lyft and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. Residents are eligible for two complimentary Bluebikes Adventure Pass rides, available across the system’s 10 municipalities: Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Newton, Revere, Somerville, and Watertown. Blue Cross is the title sponsor of Bluebikes, which is owned by the municipalities and operated by Lyft.
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is joining Blue Cross companies across the country, along with AHIP members, in helping to vaccinate 2 million seniors living in the most vulnerable communities. As part of the Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative, Blue Cross and other participating health plans will focus on their respective members and the communities they serve, identifying members who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and who live in areas where vaccination rates are most inequitable. Blue Cross will use its member data and advanced analytics and rely on a number of methods to help identify the most vulnerable communities and members. Socioeconomic data will be paired with other information such as vaccination histories and the prevalence of chronic conditions to improve accuracy and efficiency in identifying those most at risk.Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has released a public service announcement promoting the COVID-19 vaccine. The 2-minute video features Dr. Katherine Dallow, vice president of clinical programs and strategy at Blue Cross, discussing the promise of COVID-19 vaccines. The video is free for use for any media, governmental, educational, or public health messaging effort.Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts – announced a new effort with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to help provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations. Blue Cross will contribute $1 million to fund free rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state to support community health centers, underserved communities, and vulnerable populations. Blue Cross’ contribution will support tens of thousands of free rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites. The goal is to launch the program in the next few weeks in coordination with the League, which will assist in identifying participating community health centers.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will waive all copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to commercial members.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has joined the Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative, a national effort to help vaccinate 2 million at-risk seniors against COVID-19. In coordination with local providers, community groups and government agencies, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has a number of initiatives underway across the state to ensure all members who are eligible for the vaccine have the right information, resources and opportunities needed to protect themselves against the coronavirus. Volunteering with NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, a vaccination site for people 65 years and older who live in the surrounding Minneapolis neighborhoods. Blue Cross associates are able to use Volunteer Paid Time Off to serve as greeters and navigators, helping seniors check in to their appointments and fill out forms. Additionally, Blue Cross volunteers are supporting staff at the Native American Community Clinic, which encourages and administers vaccinations for elders 65 and older, using culturally relevant strategies. The NACC offers a full range of services to address health disparities within the urban Native American community of the Twin Cities.
    • Planning for a major 100-day telephone outreach effort, with dedicated staff placing calls to at-risk seniors and providing information on nearby vaccine sites and inquiring about any possible barriers from getting immunized.
    • Partnering with North Memorial Health on a new COVID-19 vaccination site in Brooklyn Center, staffed by a team of Blue Cross nurses. Since opening last month, the clinic has been administering 450 to 650 vaccines a day to North Memorial Health customers.
    • Sponsoring transportation to and from vaccination appointments for senior patients at the Open Door Health Center in Mankato. Open Door Health Center is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) for people in need from Southern Minnesota. The Center provides comprehensive health care regardless of insurance coverage status or ability to pay.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is part of a vaccination coordination team that’s working to make sure Montanans at the highest risk of life-threatening COVID-19 infections have access to the vaccines. The Caring Foundation of Montana and its Care Van® program, which is sponsored by BCBSMT, have been stopping by parking lots, campgrounds, and shelters to offer COVID-19 vaccines to people experiencing homelessness in the Helena area, as well as the region’s transient population.

    In Montana, nearly 1,600 people are experiencing homelessness and at higher risk for COVID-19 infection. They tend to suffer chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and HIV, which increase their risks of developing severe illness or dying from COVID-19.

  • BlueCross BlueShield of North CarolinaUnited Way of the Greater Triangle, in partnership with Lyft, has announced the launch of RIDE UNITED NC, a statewide campaign designed to remove transportation barriers for low-income North Carolina residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The campaign has a goal of providing access to 100,000 roundtrip rides across all 100 North Carolina counties and is currently accepting donations to support efforts.The launch of RIDE UNITED NC is made possible by initial investments totaling more than $400,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Coastal Credit Union, and Duke Energy along with initial coordination support from North Carolina Department of Transportation. This program builds on the longstanding relationship between United Way and Lyft, and this extension is part of Lyft’s Vaccine Access Program, which is designed to provide support to individuals in need in select cities.
  • Blue Cross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has selected two additional organizations for funding from its COVID-19 vaccine campaign RFP.The program, announced in January, provides funding to leverage local knowledge, expertise, resources and relationships to increase vaccinations within communities.The First Tennessee Development District is receiving $541,700 to support their “Take A Shot On Life” communications campaign, encouraging residents of Northeast Tennessee communities, including Bristol, Kingsport, Greeneville and Johnson City, to get vaccinated. The City of Memphis is receiving $533,940 to fund the “Your Best Shot” campaign, a project of the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force, which will promote the vaccine in Shelby County with the goal of vaccinating 656,000 residents in the next six to eight months.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont – Over 20 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont employees have stepped forward to support the Vermont Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics.The Vermont Department of Health is requesting resources with two skill sets: clinical skills, such as licensed nurses, physicians, and EMTs, whose qualifications would allow them to administer the vaccinations; and people with administrative skills to help Vermonters navigate the check in process. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont will provide support for both clinical skills as well as administrative skills.
  • Cambia Health Foundation is making philanthropic investments of $775,000 to facilitate equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to people of color, homebound seniors, and others who may otherwise face barriers or inequities. With this funding, the Foundation will support both national and regional initiatives that build trust in the vaccine through delivering simple, age-sensitive, and culturally relevant resources. Funding also supports the rapid deployment of the vaccine directly to people who cannot access mass vaccination sites.
  • CalOptima is collaborating with the Orange County Health Care Agency to ensure that communications to key groups reinforce the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals and the community. CalOptima will engage community-based organizations to reach out low-income members so they have trusted information in multiple languages that builds their confidence and offers direction on obtaining COVID-19 vaccines at no cost.The CalOptima Board of Directors has approved $45.6 million in funding and programs in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and start of vaccination efforts. The increased support will reach health networks, providers, and nursing homes, and offer incentives to members who receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available to them. Vaccine distribution will follow a federally approved phased approach that prioritizes high-risk groups first, followed by the general public later in the year. The actions include:
    • Launching a Vaccination Incentive Program to offer two $25 nonmonetary gift cards to CalOptima Medi-Cal members who get both required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, subject to state regulatory approval. CalOptima plans a multipronged member outreach program to promote vaccination and will work with the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) on the administration of the incentive program, which is approved to spend up to $35 million.
    • Creating a Vaccination Intervention and Member Incentive Strategy to promote vaccination of members experiencing homelessness. Medi-Cal members who are homeless and age 14 or older will be eligible for two $25 nonmonetary gift cards for receiving both required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, subject to state regulatory approval. CalOptima will coordinate with community health centers, shelter operators and others to reach homeless members and promote vaccine access in the $400,000 program.
    • CalOptima members age 65 or older may receive the COVID-19 vaccine within the next few weeks through the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Pilot Program, a joint effort between CalOptima and the Orange County Health Care Agency. The program is designed to improve direct access to vaccinations for CalOptima members who live in the hardest-hit communities by COVID-19.
  • Capital BlueCross and Rite Aid are working together to provide COVID-19 vaccines through community-based clinics that enlist the help of local pharmacists, a model that reflects a newly announced federal strategy for vaccine distribution.The clinics, which first began in February and will continue through June, will help thousands of Pennsylvanians across Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley receive their COVID-19 vaccines.The clinics are providing vaccines to anyone who meets Pennsylvania’s current eligibility guidelines and schedules an appointment ahead of time, regardless of whether they are Capital BlueCross members.
  • Capital District Physicians Health Plan is partnering with Price Chopper/Market 32 to find and provide COVID-19 vaccinations for area seniors or other individuals who may not be able to register for the vaccine or get to the vaccination site.The process includes using CDPHP’s membership list to contact seniors or disable persons and see if they’ve been vaccinated. If they haven’t, a vaccination appointment can be made and transportation provided to get them to the Price Chopper/Market 32 store for the vaccine.
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is making $200,000 in contributions to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the District of Columbia. The grants will support work administering COVID-19 vaccines for individuals, families, and communities throughout the city. This philanthropic contribution is part of CareFirst’s “Better Together” COVID-19 vaccination adoption campaign to help educate and encourage people about the importance of everyone getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
    The grants build on CareFirst’s previous efforts to help communities break free from the unrelenting grip of the pandemic. All eight D.C. FQHCs will receive COVID-19 relief funding to help with staffing of vaccine administration, personal protective equipment, refrigeration units for vaccine storage, and other unanticipated vaccination demands that may arise. Investments will be distributed to Unity Health Care, Mary’s Center, Community of Hope, Bread for the City, Elaine Ellis, La Clínica del Pueblo, Family and Medical Counseling Services, and Whitman Walker.CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has launched a wide-ranging campaign to help educate and encourage people living throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia about the importance of everyone taking the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible. The effort will urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they can and support public health officials’ work to achieve target vaccination rates that will end the pandemic.The company has unveiled a new ad to carry this message to people living in the region. “The Deal” is a public health ad with a serious tone and a simple message. A series of individuals are featured throughout asking viewers to join in a deal – take the COVID-19 vaccine when they can, “for you, for me and everyone you love.” The ad closes by noting, “this is our shot to leave COVID behind.”CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield will fully cover all member costs associated with all FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines, including for members in self-insured plans. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has launched a wide-ranging campaign to help educate and encourage people living throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia about the importance of everyone taking the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible. The effort will urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they can and support public health officials’ work to achieve target vaccination rates that will end the pandemic. Over the next several months, CareFirst will expand its ongoing collaboration with public health officials and community leaders to support coordinated vaccine communications and distribution processes. These efforts will include online forums and educational opportunities with medical experts and influential community spokespeople targeting populations and locations most in need and the customers we serve.
  • Centene Corporation and several members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame family are partnering to increase education and awareness around COVID-19 vaccines through a series of new 15-, 30- and 60-second public service announcements (PSAs), with a particular focus on communities of color. The PSAs will air nationally on television networks and over digital platforms.Delivering the message that COVID-19 vaccines protect not only the recipient but also their friends and families will be Hall of Famers ANTHONY MUÑOZ (in both English and Spanish), DARRELL GREEN, AENEAS WILLIAMS and DREW PEARSON; along with LISA SALTERS, a Hall of Fame Selector and TV broadcaster; and friends of the Hall DAWN STALEY, a three-time Olympic gold medal winner and coach of the 2017 national champion University of South Carolina women’s basketball team; and IMAN MCFARLAND, Chief Operating Officer for 21st Century Expo Group and an ambassador for the Hall’s and Centene’s joint “Strong Youth Strong Communities” programming.Centene’s Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Marketplace members can access COVID-19 vaccines at no cost as they become available to them in accordance with state and federal (CMS) requirements and timelines.
  • Cigna is providing transportation to and from vaccine sites at no extra cost to customers in the majority of its Cigna Medicare Advantage plans across the country.Over 500,000 customers in 23 states are eligible for four one-way trips, up to 60 miles each way, to get their vaccine. The program allows for 4 trips since some vaccines require 2 doses. Transportation for 1 adult companion is also included to accommodate caregivers.Cigna is working with its Medicare Advantage transportation vendor, Access2Care, which coordinates transportation for customers. Participating transportation companies will vary by location. Cigna MA customers completed more than 400,000 trips through the program in 2020, primarily to doctors and pharmacies.Customers who qualify for the vaccine in their state can arrange for the round trip during an initial call.
    • Cigna is covering the cost of approved vaccines without any cost share. The vaccine is currently purchased by the federal government and provided free of cost to individuals. Cigna covers the cost of administering the vaccine at 100% without any out-of-pocket costs when done by any in-network or out-of-network provider.
  • Commonwealth Care Alliance is partnering with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to lead the state’s effort to vaccinate homebound individuals. CCA was the first integrated plan in Massachusetts to vaccinate its own homebound health plan members beginning in mid-February and has delivered vaccines to nearly 500 homebound individuals. CCA will now expand that program to all homebound individuals in Massachusetts, regardless of health plan.Eligible homebound residents will be identified and screened by the state with support from local partners like Boards of Health. Individuals or family members can also call the state’s 211 line to answer screening questions and register as a homebound resident for vaccination. The state will then refer eligible residents to CCA.The State will distribute vaccines weekly to geographic vaccination hubs that CCA will run. Contracted or volunteer vaccinators (EMS, home health agencies, students or local boards of health) will come to these hubs at scheduled times. They will be provided with “go bags” that include appropriate PPE, a list of appointments, and the necessary number of vaccines. The vaccinators will then provide eligible individuals with a vaccine in their home and return to the hub.
  • CVS Health has recently begun administering COVID-19 vaccines at employer-based vaccination clinics through Return Ready, helping to increase access to vaccinations for employees following expanded eligibility to all adults in the United States and an increasing vaccine supply. CVS Health is managing employer vaccination clinics for 18 employers across 51 locations, which began with Delta Air Lines in February 2021. The New York Shipping Association worked with Return Ready to operate vaccination clinics that included the International Longshoremen’s Association and its members, and the City of Philadelphia is also working with Return Ready on vaccination clinics for all city employees.Return Ready, first introduced as a customizable COVID-19 testing solution in June 2020, now includes COVID-19 vaccination options in addition to clinical protocols, digital scheduling tools and detailed reporting to meet the unique worksite needs of employers. As part of the vaccination offering, CVS Health is responsible for administering vaccinations at onsite clinics with trained health care staff who can also answer patient questions about the vaccine and direct them to appropriate resources.
    • CVS Health has surpassed 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered through its participation in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program and Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The company is now administering vaccines in nearly 2,000 stores across 44 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., with the pace of vaccinations expected to rapidly accelerate as more supply becomes available. CVS Pharmacy has the capacity to administer up to 25 million shots per month.
    • CVS Health has nearly doubled the number of states where select CVS Pharmacy locations are offering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible populations through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The company is now administering vaccines in nearly 1,200 stores across 29 states and Puerto Rico. CVS Health will administer COVID-19 vaccinations to the public when authorized and available. CVS Health already announced it would provide COVID-19 vaccinations to long-term care facilities when the vaccine becomes available. CVS Health has formally launched its COVID-19 vaccination program for long-term care facilities, whose residents have been disproportionality impacted by the pandemic. CVS Pharmacy teams will administer the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in facilities across 12 states this week, and the company expects to vaccinate up to four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities through the program. CVS Pharmacy teams will make three visits to each long-term care facility to ensure residents and staff receive their initial shot and critical booster. The majority of residents and staff will be fully vaccinated three to four weeks after the first visit, depending on which vaccine they receive.CVS Health expects to complete its long-term care facility vaccination effort in approximately 12 weeks. CVS Health will administer COVID-19 vaccinations starting this week in the following states: Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Vermont. Vaccinations will begin in 36 more states, as well as the District of Columbia, on December 28. Puerto Rico will activate on January 4.CVS Health has administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities across the country, delivering on goals established early in the process and communicated to participating states and jurisdictions months ago. Administration of second doses is well underway and expected to be complete within four weeks. CVS Health will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations at a limited number of CVS Pharmacy locations across 11 states, beginning February 11. Supply for the initial rollout, which is sourced directly from the federal government through the pharmacy partnership program, will be approximately 250,000 total doses. As more supply becomes available the company will expand to additional states while increasing the number of stores offering vaccinations. CVS Health announced its community-based strategy to address potential inequities related to COVID-19 vaccine access in vulnerable communities, with a particular focus on Black and Hispanic populations.In communities where COVID-19 vaccines are currently available at CVS Pharmacy locations, the company is working to help ensure Black and Hispanic patients have equitable access to appointments. CVS Health will reach out to CVS Pharmacy patients, Aetna members, and CVS Caremark members in vulnerable communities to help them make an appointment and to answer questions or concerns they may have about being vaccinated. To further increase access to vaccines, the company is planning to use mobile vaccination vans and launch community-based clinics in March and April, working closely with nonprofit organizations including the YMCA. Lyft will also work with CVS Health and non-profit partners to help underserved communities access vaccination appointments by providing free or discounted rides for those in need.
  • EmblemHealth’s Advantage Care Physicians of New York has established partnerships with New York City and the state to administer the COVID-19 vaccine in 12 of its practice sites across New York City, most of which serve predominantly low-income neighborhoods. This began in early January, building off previous partnerships with the city and state to perform COVID-19 tests, and to date has administered tens of thousands of vaccines to local residents (not just EmblemHealth enrollees).EmblemHealth has also held dedicated events cosponsored with the United Federation of Teachers using ACPNY professionals to administer hundreds of vaccines to local educators.
  • Empire BlueCross BlueShield is working with New York City to vaccinate seniors in their homes. Empire forwarded the names of 650 homebound members when the New York City Public Health Department launched efforts to vaccinate the homebound, and also led efforts to get vaccination appointments for long-term care members.Empire BlueCross BlueShield will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. Empire members won’t have out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine during the national public health emergency. This applies to all members, regardless of the type of health plan they have, or which doctor or healthcare professional they choose to visit for COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will provide the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to members, and members may access the vaccine from any service provider that offers it, regardless of whether the provider is in the Excellus network.
  • Florida Blue has teamed up with Lyft and other transportation companies to offer its members access to rides to and from vaccination appointments as part of its services to support vaccination events across the state.The transportation services are available to members with Medicare Advantage, individual and family health plans, such as Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, and fully insured employer-provided plans. The state’s largest insurer has teamed up with Lyft to provide access to rides for people with individual, family and employer health plans, offering ride credits of up to $25 each way, and transportation companies Kaizen Health and ModivCare (formerly LogistiCare) for its Medicare Advantage members.
    • Florida Blue Medicare has joined the Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative, a national effort to help vaccinate 2 million at-risk seniors against COVID-19. Florida Blue Medicare is using its enrollee data and analytics in addition to a number of methods – including government resources such as the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) – to help identify the 25% most vulnerable communities. Florida Blue is also joining other BCBSA companies in a Rally for Recovery Commitment, which aims to protect employees by encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations, while also educate employees and local communities on ways to mitigate the spread of the virus. The pledge was launched by the federal government and business leaders to encourage companies to take action to defeat the coronavirus. Florida Blue is waiving all copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine for members. The vaccine will be available at $0 cost share to members with employer health plans, individual plans, and Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan have kicked off ‘Mobile Vax’, an initiative to reach and vaccinate more people for COVID-19, particularly in Black and Brown communities and non-English speaking populations.Hundreds of people have already been able to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose in East Boston. The initiative is supported by The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) and Last Mile Vaccine Delivery, a new public/private partnership service that aims to accelerate vaccine distribution.The mobile clinics aim to administer up to 500 vaccinations per day and will visit East Boston, Chelsea, Holyoke, and Chicopee over the next several weeks. The mobile vaccination clinics require an appointment scheduled by community organizers.
    • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson and Dajuan Eubanks of the Maine Red Claws are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines.Samuelson and Eubanks are featured in a new Harvard Pilgrim public service campaign, which includes 15 and 30 second public service announcements (PSA), that will run on broadcast television in Maine and across various social media channels. The PSA, entitled “Opponents,” encourages Maine residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Harvard Pilgrim partnered with a Portland based crew for the PSA production, which was filmed at the State Theater in Portland.
    • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation are giving $1 million to 42 organizations across the region to expand vaccine education, awareness and outreach in communities of color. Grant recommendations were informed by community organizations, public health leaders and other key stakeholders engaged in the vaccine rollout in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Grants will support a range of organizations—from statewide organizations to local community nonprofits. They include faith-based organizations, trusted Black/Latinx-led community nonprofits, and organizations with experience coordinating multilingual efforts.
  • Health Net is supporting California Governor Newsom’s new Vaccinate All 58 social media campaign. To assure Californians that the vaccine is effective and safe to get when it becomes available, Health Net is sharing content from the campaign’s social media tool kit across channels.
  • Highmark members will receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge.
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has joined the Vaccine Community Connectors program, which aims to help vaccinate 2 million seniors living in the most vulnerable communities.
  • Independence Blue Cross and Rite Aid have been working together to help Independence members secure COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The collaboration includes proactive outreach by Independence to vaccine-eligible members and one-on-one assistance setting up COVID-19 vaccine appointments at specific Rite Aid locations. This is part of Independence’s ongoing community-based efforts to support its most vulnerable members during the pandemic.The collaboration with Rite Aid began in early March and initially targeted Medicare Advantage members who live in priority areas that Independence identified across the five counties it serves. Philadelphia and Delaware Counties were initially selected based on the number of vaccine-eligible members living in zip codes with low vaccination rates, social barriers (e.g. limited access to internet for scheduling and transportation, etc.), and the availability of vaccines at Rite Aid stores in these locations.Once the initial priority areas were identified, specific Rite Aid locations in Philadelphia and Boothwyn were chosen. Independence prioritized members for outreach based on their social determinant of health barriers and clinical risk factors including treatment history for cancer, chronic kidney disease, Down syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. Independence made outreach calls to each of the members and helped them make appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine at specific Rite Aid locations near their residence.

    Independence Blue Cross has joined the Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative, a national effort to help vaccinate 2 million at-risk seniors against COVID-19.
    Independence Blue Cross 
    is waiving all cost-sharing for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to commercial group and individual members. For Medicare Advantage members, the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration will be covered by Medicare.

  • Member health plans in the Minnesota Council of Health Plans will waive copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available through the government’s multi-phased approach.
  • Inland Empire Health Plan is hosting a super vaccination site in partnership with San Bernardino County. The vaccination clinic is scheduled to run for approximately six months and county and Inland Empire Health Plan nurses will administer approximately 500 vaccines per day with plans to work up to administering 1,000 vaccines per day, based on availability. The clinic will include options to support individuals with mobility issues and an observation area to monitor for any side effects.
  • Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest is partnering with the Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA) on an initiative to increase vaccination rates among underserved and communities of color in Oregon.OPCA, a nonprofit membership association of Oregon’s 34 Federally Qualified Health Centers, also known as community health centers, will oversee the distribution of $1.1 million in funding from Kaiser Permanente to 11 CHCs throughout the region.Oregon’s community health centers provide integrated medical, dental, and behavioral health services to over 466,000 Oregonians at over 270 sites across the state. As trusted partners in their communities, these clinics are well positioned to address equitable vaccination administration but need support to ramp up capacity quickly.The grant dollars will be applied toward a range of needs, including:
    • Hiring temporary staff to manage vaccination sites
    • Transporting patients to vaccination appointments
    • Providing community health workers to do outreach and help people navigate ever-changing guidelines, vaccine appointments, and locations
    • Providing language access resources for vaccination sites
    • Investing in infrastructure, including personal protective equipment, storage, and supplies
    • Launching mobile vaccine clinics
    • Partnering with other community-based organizations that serve hard-to-reach populations

    Kaiser Permanente, Colorado’s largest nonprofit health plan, is helping to alleviate the cost and increase the availability of transportation options along the Front Range for seniors receiving their COVID-19 vaccination.

    Kaiser Permanente is collaborating with 8 transportation service providers along the Front Range, providing $45,000 to ensure seniors with Medicare and other older adults can get a ride to receive their vaccination, without worrying about the cost of that car trip.

    The support will cover the costs of transporting seniors to their scheduled vaccination appointment at eligible Kaiser Permanente locations or other eligible vaccination providers in the state including medical clinics, community vaccination sites, or retail pharmacy providers.

  • Magnolia Health is engaging Mississippians to encourage them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when available and help prevent the spread of the virus with a 30-second PSA from NFL legend and friend of the Hall of Fame Deuce McAllister.In addition to the PSA, which will run on TV and digital platforms, Magnolia’s Chief Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Erwin is sharing general information about the vaccine, the phased approach to availability, its safety and efficacy, and other details.
  • Providence Health Plan members can receive COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. Additionally, the cost of administration of the vaccine is covered in full by any in-network or out-of-network provider. Medicare beneficiaries can receive their COVID-19 vaccination from any Medicare provider even if the provider is out of network for their Medicare Advantage Plan, while all other members can receive their COVID-19 vaccination from any provider, even if the provider is out of network.
  • Regence BlueShield of Oregon has provided a significant gift to help fund mobile vaccination clinics from Medical Teams International. The organization’s staff and network of medical volunteers will administer the vaccine, with a focus on reaching communities that are underserved and people lacking health insurance. The support from Regence BlueShield of Oregon will allow the clinics to scale-up and reach Oregonians who have barriers to accessing large-scale vaccination sites. The funding will support an estimated 20 clinics operating on a reservation-only registration system.
  • Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah – United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) and Utah 211 announced the launch of the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign, providing access to free rides to COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Salt Lake County and surrounding areas, in partnership with Lyft and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah. Vaccination rides are the latest implementation of the Ride United program, which seeks to reduce transportation barriers that prevent clients from accessing health care, getting quality jobs, completing education programs, and more.The local Ride United Vaccine Access program is made possible by a partnership with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah. The nonprofit health insurer provided a donation aimed at improving access to vaccination appointments for vulnerable, underserved residents by funding roundtrip rides, initiated through Utah 211, in at-risk communities.
  • Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Washington has provided a significant gift to help fund mobile vaccination clinics from Medical Teams International. The organization’s staff and network of medical volunteers will administer the vaccine, with a focus on reaching communities that are underserved and people lacking health insurance. The support from Regence BlueShield of Washington will allow the clinics to scale-up and reach Washington residents who have barriers to accessing large-scale vaccination sites. The funding will support an estimated 30 clinics operating on a reservation-only registration system.
  • Sentara Healthcare has launched a new website for patients and community members to quickly view and schedule a first-dose vaccine appointment at an upcoming Sentara COVID-19 vaccine clinic.Anyone who is 16 years or older is invited to visit Sentara’s self-scheduling website at www.sentara.com/vaccineclinic.Those who are 16 or 17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. A signed vaccine consent form will be required upon check-in. Those who are 16 or 17 years old are only able to receive the Pfizer vaccine, per FDA guidelines. The website will identify which vaccine will be used at each clinic.
  • SCAN Health Plan is providing in-home COVID-19 vaccinations to homebound plan members and their families in Los Angeles County. The vaccination program, the first of its kind, is made possible through a unique partnership between SCAN and MedArrive, a logistics platform that enables healthcare payers and providers to seamlessly extend care services into the home, unlocking access to highly qualified, trusted EMTs and Paramedics.The vaccines are being administered by trained EMTs at no cost to the members. Caregivers and other eligible household members are also receiving the vaccine at no cost.Over the past two weeks, MedArrive team members have made hundreds of outreach calls in English and Spanish to homebound SCAN members who reside in Los Angeles County. During these calls, MedArrive representatives have helped people schedule their vaccination appointments and answered questions about vaccine safety. SCAN and MedArrive are targeting an initial group of more than 1,000 homebound adults in Los Angeles County to ensure they are vaccinated.
    • SCAN Health Plan is offering members access to SCAN TeleTalks, a series of large-scale conference calls addressing the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation are giving $1 million to 42 organizations across the region to expand vaccine education, awareness and outreach in communities of color. Grant recommendations were informed by community organizations, public health leaders and other key stakeholders engaged in the vaccine rollout in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Grants will support a range of organizations—from statewide organizations to local community nonprofits. They include faith-based organizations, trusted Black/Latinx-led community nonprofits, and organizations with experience coordinating multilingual efforts.
  • UCare organized a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic at its headquarters in Northeast Minneapolis, focused on vulnerable members. The first doses were given May 7-8, and second doses will be administered June 5-6.UCare’s team of engagement specialists and Community Health Workers scheduled appointments, provided language assistance and arranged transportation. The team includes Hmong, Somali and Spanish speakers, and Black/African American community members. Scheduling was followed up with a mailed confirmation, map and vaccine information form to complete beforehand. If unable to attend, UCare members are scheduled for a vaccine with other community providers.
    • UCare is working with trusted community leaders from diverse communities to engage members and build confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine, and is participating in the industry-wide Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative led by America’s Health Insurance Plans to vaccinate two million Americans in the most vulnerable communities in the next 100 days. UCare’s vaccination outreach and support efforts are ongoing. To date, activities include:
      • Vaccine Clinics – 37 UCare volunteers assisted Hennepin Healthcare to vaccinate 6,300 health care workers and school employees over 6 weeks. UCare sponsored two M Health Fairview clinics in the Cedar Riverside Somali community and helped schedule appointments for an Allina Health pop-up clinic.
      • UCare called members who have had COVID-19 or who have been identified as high risk of complications if they get COVID-19. Tailored outreach through emails, postcards, and booklet kits are helping members avoid getting COVID-19. UCare is also placing 2nd dose reminder calls to members who had their first COVID-19 vaccine, and continuously updating COVID-19 web content.
      • UCare sponsored educational videos featuring trusted community voices in four languages – English, Spanish, Hmong, and Somali produced by Sahan Journal.
    • UCare is currently planning:
      • Two large-scale COVID-19 vaccine events at the State Fairgrounds in spring and summer
      • UCare Healthmobile COVID-19 vaccine events in outstate Minnesota and targeted neighborhoods in the Twin Cities metro starting this spring
      • A multicultural educational campaign in UCare member languages and communities
      • Calls to eligible members to help schedule COVID-19 appointments and/or register them with the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Connector
      • A UCare Vaccine Hotline
      • Community outreach and education to ensure fair and just access to the vaccine for all populations UCare serves
  • UPMC Health Plan As part of UPMC Health Plan’s comprehensive, wide-ranging effort to connect members to available vaccines, UPMC CHC and the other two Community HealthChoices Medicaid managed care organizations have partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Rite Aid pharmacies to set up vaccination clinics for this vulnerable population across Pennsylvania. Specifically, UPMC CHC identified unvaccinated members and scheduled and transported them to clinics as part of this coordinated effort.
    • UPMC Health Plan is covering the COVID-19 vaccine as a preventive service at no cost to members. UPMC will cover COVID-19 vaccinations regardless of whether they are received from a hospital, pharmacy, or other licensed health care provider.
  • Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield will cover COVID-19 vaccinations with no member cost-sharing payments, deeming it a preventive service under the ACA.

For more than a year, health insurance providers have been taking decisive actions to help patients, communities, providers, and businesses, and to curb the spread of the virus. Learn more here.

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