We want to take a moment to share some important information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Recently the HHS announced the HHS Bridge Access Program for COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments (Bridge Access Program). The goal of this program is to ensure that all people continue to have access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
Now that the Public Health Emergency has ended, most Americans are able to obtain COVID-19 vaccines and treatments through their health insurance without out-of-pocket costs. However, to ensure that the 25 million uninsured adults in the US are able to continue to have access to COVID-19 treatment and prevention, the Bridge Access Program was created.
The Bridge Access Program establishes a unique public-private partnership to safeguard access to COVID-19 care for uninsured individuals.
The program consists of two major components:
1. Support for the existing public sector vaccine safety net: The CDC will continue to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to its network of state and local health department immunization awardees, who will then distribute them to local health departments and participating Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-supported health centers.
2. Partnership with pharmacy chains: HHS will establish contracts with pharmacy chains which will enable pharmacies to offer COVID-19 vaccines and designated treatments at no out-of-pocket cost to uninsured individuals. This component is expected to launch in Fall 2023.
What This Means for Uninsured Individuals
If you currently do not have health insurance you can still obtain COVID-19 vaccines and treatment through community health centers at no cost. Beginning in Fall 2023, you will also have the option of getting COVID-19 care through a number of pharmacy chains with no out-of-pocket costs.
This Bridge Access Program will ensure that easy access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, regardless of insurance status, continues and remains equitable. The program aims to address any potential gaps in availability as COVID-19 products are transitioned to traditional healthcare pathways. In addition to filling a significant gap in access, the HHS hopes that this program will demonstrate the effectiveness of extending access to other vaccines for uninsured adults.
At VEAP, we are committed to promoting health equity and ensuring that everyone has access to critical COVID-19 care. The ‘HHS Bridge Access Program for COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments’ is a significant step in achieving these goals. For information about upcoming clinics keep an eye on Social Capital Inc. – Vaccine Clinics