Medicare study reveals Virginia seniors are avoiding COVID-19 vaccine over cost concerns

Coronavirus

A senior resident receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination event in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo: 8News Reporter Alex Thorson)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Over 24,000 of Virginia’s senior citizens are not planning to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because they think they will have to pay to receive the shot(s), according to a new study by medicareadvantage.com.

The study found as a whole, 312,173 seniors are planning to avoid getting vaccinated for the same reason.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Weekly Household Pulse Survey, the study found the vaccine cost concern per capita was highest in Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Montana, in addition to Virginia.

The misconception from seniors is prevalent even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the U.S. Additionally, vaccine providers can’t charge you directly for any administration fees, co-pays or coinsurance. Administration fees are the cost associated with the individual actually performing the injection.

The study indicates that people can be led to believe they are going to end up being charged for the vaccine simply by being asked for and providing health insurance information when making a vaccination appointment. This practice is in place only for insurance providers to get reimbursed from the federal government.

There are also a number of scams out there trying to prey upon senior citizens, asking them to pay out of pocket in order to get vaccinated or to pay up in order to get early access to a shot or get your name on a waiting list.

Vaccine data from the Virginia Department of Health show that as of March 20, 1,997,951 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia. Just over 1 million Virginians have been fully vaccinated. Of the 1,997,951 folks with at least one dose of the vaccine, 1,003,098 of them are age 60 and older.

When the VDH began rolling out doses of the vaccine, seniors were among the highest priority group targeted.

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