Healthy Living on a Budget

Billed for a COVID-19 Vaccine? Don't Pay

If you are charged, it's an error. Call your provider directly and dispute the fees.

The COVID-19 vaccination—along with the recently rolled out booster shot—is absolutely free, thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Even so, nearly one-third of unvaccinated adults say they’re concerned about out-of-pocket costs, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Those concerns aren’t helped by reports that some people have been billed for their vaccination appointment.

The skepticism isn’t surprising, because a free service is “kind of an anomaly in the American health care system,” says Caitlin Donovan, senior director of public relations at the nonprofit Patient Advocate Foundation. But as far as the COVID-19 vaccines are concerned, she says, “nobody should be billed for the vaccine. Not a provider fee, no co-pay, nothing.”

Individuals may be charged for COVID-19 vaccinations because providers bill them directly, instead of their insurers, or due to human error in medical billing systems. In either case, Donovan says, you should call your provider directly and dispute the charges. Your insurer also may be willing to help you get the bill waived.

If you’re concerned about being charged, Donovan recommends getting your vaccination at a public facility, such as a community center, instead of at your doctor’s office or local hospital. To find a center near you, visit www.vaccines.gov.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio: All 41 Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked
stocks

The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio: All 41 Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked

The Berkshire Hathaway portfolio is a diverse set of blue chips, and increasingly, lesser-known growth bets. Here's a look at every stock picked by Wa…
November 16, 2021
Should You Take an Extra Big RMD This Year?
required minimum distributions (RMDs)

Should You Take an Extra Big RMD This Year?

Sometimes only taking the minimum IRA distribution can be a costly mistake. When deciding how much to withdraw this year, you need to consider the big…
November 23, 2021

Recommended

Financial Topics Safe for This Year’s Thanksgiving Table
personal finance

Financial Topics Safe for This Year’s Thanksgiving Table

Talking about money over turkey may be less stressful than getting into politics or social issues this year. Here are some possibilities to get the ba…
November 25, 2021
10 Things to Be Thankful for in 2021
personal finance

10 Things to Be Thankful for in 2021

Kiplinger’s annual roundup of economic good news, technological advances, and medical breakthroughs for you to celebrate on Thanksgiving and throughou…
November 24, 2021
Depression and the Holidays: Some Friendly Advice from a Financial Adviser
personal finance

Depression and the Holidays: Some Friendly Advice from a Financial Adviser

Now is the time to be on the lookout for the signs that someone may need a boost. Or maybe you could use a little help yourself?
November 24, 2021
Shop for a New Wireless Plan and Save Big
Smart Buying

Shop for a New Wireless Plan and Save Big

Competition is fierce, and carriers are dangling free phones and streaming subscriptions.
November 23, 2021