Steve Poizner, state Insurance Commissioner in California announced earlier this week that the state ‘s six largest health insurers have agreed to waive deductibles and co-pays for members getting the H1N1 flu vaccine.
In a prepared statement to the press, Poizner said, “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.” He continued, “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.”
Mr. Poizner also said that he and other officials from the California government, including members of the California Deparment of Public Health and the Department of Managed Health Care, had sent letters to every health insurer operating within the state. The letter outlined specific goals for how administration of the vaccine should proceed, in light of the flu strain’s highly contagious nature.
As per guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the target groups to receive the vaccine are pregnant women, and people who live with or care for children younger than six months, those who are between the ages of six months and twenty-four years, health care workers, emergency medical services personnel, people over the age of sixty-five, and people between the ages of twenty-five and sixty-four who have chronic health issues or compromised immune systems.