U.S. officials don’t want people to have to pay health insurance copays when a coronavirus vaccine eventually becomes available, they said on Tuesday (June 16), the Associated Press reported.
A senior Trump administration official, talking to reporters at a briefing, said the government has been in talks with insurers about the prospect. Health insurance officials had previously made comments about offering a vaccine for free once it was developed, too, according to the report.
The White House has been involved, looking to jump into mass-manufacturing a vaccine once one has been tested and is approved by the Food & Drug Administration. The vaccines are in very early trial stages now and one could be finished by the end of the year if testing goes right this summer, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health.
The White House is calling this “Operation Warp Speed,” and the operation features teamwork between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Pentagon, with HHS providing the broader guiding hand of the project.
Insurers will have a strong interest in offering the vaccine without the copay, as they have with previous vaccines. The vaccine will help customers stay healthy, which will in turn help the insurance companies save money on future trips to the hospital.
That intertwining of healthcare as a public need and the for-profit services insurance companies provide has always come down to how to make sure to get doctors and other necessary parties paid. Due to the high costs, though, many customers don’t even bother making appointments a lot of the time.
Solutions from companies offering custom plans with incremental payments, like that which Flywire has recently debuted, could be advantageous for customers on a budget who still need to go to the doctor. Under Flywire’s solution, providers can use analytical tools to calculate the best amount a customer would be able to reasonably pay in pre- and post-installment plans.