The new COVID booster could cost you $200. What to do if your insurance doesn’t cover it

Getty Images

An updated COVID-19 booster to fight the contagious subvariant is here, but many might not be able to receive the vaccine at no cost.

Though the vaccine is supposed to be free, some people are being charged nearly $200 for the shot, while others are having their appointments canceled due to lack of coverage, the Washington Post reported.

Health officials said the new booster will target the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant. Experts say the shots will be effective against the EG.5 variant since the two are closely related. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older.

Here’s why your insurance may not cover the new shot and how to avoid a co-pay.

Why won’t insurance cover COVID shot?

People with Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance should have the vaccine covered without a co-payment. Still, others are being charged because billing codes for the shot have not been updated, the New York Times reported.

Others are being told the pharmacies where they schedule their vaccine appointments are out of network, the Post reported.

Insurance companies are working to resolve the issue, James Swann, a spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a national association of health insurance companies, told the Times.

What to do if your insurance coverage is denied

If your coverage gets denied, you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told the Times.

Suppose you schedule an appointment at CVS but are experiencing issues with your insurance. In that case, you should reschedule for a later date, a spokesperson for the company told The Charlotte Observer in an email.

Pharmacists at Walgreens can also help patients with insurance issues reschedule appointments, a spokesperson told the Observer. Patients are also encouraged to bring their insurance information to their appointments.