New Survey: Health Insurance Providers Are Committing Multiple Resources To Overcome “Vaccine Wall”

posted by Kristine Grow

on April 27, 2021

Insurance providers that cover more than 100 million Americans rely on public-private partnerships for education and equitable access

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  As America reaches the COVID-19 “vaccine wall,” in which more vaccines are available than Americans demanding appointments, health insurance providers are taking multifaceted approaches to improve vaccine uptake. That is the conclusion of a new survey conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which examined how health insurance providers are engaging to ensure wide-spread vaccine acceptance and uptake and equitable access to vaccines. The survey also revealed the importance of public-private partnerships for vaccine delivery, vaccination coordination, and education on the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Vaccines save lives, and now more than ever we must come together to ensure that every single American has access to free COVID-19 vaccines, and that as many people as possible are fully vaccinated,” said Matt Eyles, President and CEO of AHIP. “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, health insurance providers have worked hard to ensure that costs are not a barrier to testing and treatment. We are now seeing that commitment extended through their work for equitable vaccine access, particularly among those most vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus, and continued vaccine uptake.

The survey, which was conducted in March 2021 in advance of vaccine availability being opened to all adults, included responses from health insurance providers that together cover nearly 110 million Americans. Its findings include:

  • Nearly all have trained their care and disease managers (98%), as well as their customer service representatives (96%) to answer questions on local vaccine availability, rules and locations.
  • A strong majority (77%) have provided transportation for members to get a vaccine when needed.
  • Top actions to ensure equitable vaccine uptake include education, awareness and outreach campaigns (90%), covering the cost of vaccine administration at no cost to members (88%), working with state and local government leaders to ensure equity in vaccine strategies (85%), addressing members’ vaccine hesitancy (83%) and engaging with community leaders in communities of color (77%).
  • A strong majority (73%) have partnered with other stakeholders to optimize allocation and distribution of vaccines. Those stakeholders most frequently include state and local governments, community health centers, pharmacies, and hospitals and health systems.
  • Phone calls are proving most effective for engaging seniors age 65+, with 79% of health insurance providers pointing to phone calls as most effective for spreading the word. Other effective tactics include community partnerships (48%), social media posts (42%) and email (33%).
  • While vaccine supply remained a challenge at the time of the survey (92%), other challenges that were identified and continue to persist in increasing vaccine uptake included addressing individuals’ hesitancy to take a vaccine (85%), accessing scheduling systems (75%), getting accurate information on which members have already been vaccinated (65%), and getting information from state government to support vaccination efforts (63%). While vaccine supplies are no longer a barrier, the other challenges identified in the survey response still exist.

Health insurance providers are working with a variety of partners to increase vaccine acceptance, including partners who can assist in vaccine delivery, in appointment coordination and overcoming barriers to appointment such as transportation, and in encouraging people to get their vaccines,” observed Kate Berry, Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at AHIP. “People want to be connected with trusted organizations, such as primary care and other providers, pharmacies and faith-based organizations. Health insurance providers are meeting that need by working with volunteers, clinicians, community members, and others to get people the information and support they need.

View the survey results.

The survey follows the launch of the Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative, through which health insurance providers have committed to vaccinate 2 million seniors in underserved communities.

Learn more about other health insurance provider announcements to vaccinate Americans.


About AHIP

AHIP is the national association whose members provide coverage for health care and related services to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. Through these offerings, we improve and protect the health and financial security of consumers, families, businesses, communities and the nation. We are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that improve affordability, value, access, and well-being for consumers. Visit www.ahip.org for more information.

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