Personal insurance now can pay for health district vaccines

Children and adults can now use qualifying health care plans to pay for vaccinations from the Clark County Combined Health District.

The health district immunizes about 9,000 people each year, many of whom are children fulfilling school vaccination requirements. Vaccinations cost between $30 and $170 for each dose.

Under a pilot program with the state, the health district is partnering with VaxCare, a private company that provides vaccines and has the billing infrastructure to process payments from most insurance carriers.

“They supply it and bill it, and we administer it,” Nursing Supervisor Gayle Harris said. “It’s a new thing for us because there’s a lot of very popular health insurance companies in this community … that we’ve not been able to accept.”

Before Aug. 1, most adult patients seeking vaccinations had to pay the full, out-of-pocket cost. At that time, only one insurance company could be accepted at the center. Patients with medical insurance from other companies could use a letter from the health district to seek reimbursement, but couldn’t use their policies for payment on the day of service.

Previously all children could receive free vaccinations from the health district, which were supplied by the Ohio Department of Health. Now uninsured or under-insured children will still receive free shots through a federal program, but those with insurance will use their plans to cover the costs.

The program will prepare Ohio’s health programs for federal funding cuts that will limit the distribution of free vaccines for children. In the past, 53 percent of children vaccinated had medical insurance, but the health district wasn’t equipped to accept and process those insurance payments. Through VaxCare, health district clients with medical insurance will use their policies for vaccines, conserving state resources for vaccinating uninsured children.

“Everyone’s going to have to go there eventually,” said Nursing Director Christina Conover. “One of the things we were interested in was moving ahead a little quicker because we are concerned about what we have to do just to maintain the service that we’ve had this whole time.”

In the first two days of the new program, the health district served 28 patients through VaxCare’s insurance billing. Patients using private insurance policies for vaccinations should check the details of their coverage, and should bring all insurance and medical cards for both primary and secondary insurance policies when they visit a health district center.

The health district operates its main center on East Home Road in Springfield and has satellite services with limited hours at Honeycreek Presbyterian Church in New Carlisle and the WIC Office in Springfield.

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