While Medicare would cover a coronavirus vaccine approved through normal channels, there was concern that because the Food and Drug Administration approves the vaccine through an emergency use authorization (EUA), Medicare might not cover it. Governmental action was needed to assure that Medicare beneficiaries could receive the vaccine without charge.
Fortunately, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released an interim final rule Oct. 28 saying that Medicare would cover vaccines that receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorization — including those available through emergency use authorization — at no cost to beneficiaries. This will remove any concern or barriers to Medicare beneficiaries receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
CMS will pay about $28 to administer single-dose vaccines. For vaccines that require two or more doses, it will pay around $17 for the first dose or the first few doses and $28 for the final dose in the series. According to CMS, the cost to vaccinate the roughly 67 million seniors enrolled in Medicare will be about $2.6 billion.