U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Tuesday announced bipartisan legislation that would require health insurance plans to cover treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 whenever they should become available.
There are currently no vaccines or medicines that treat or prevent infection. It could take a year to 18 months for a vaccine to be developed.
“We have to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This bill will allow Americans to rapidly access vaccines for this novel coronavirus as soon as they are available. Congress should immediately pass the Rapid Coverage for Coronavirus Vaccines and Treatments Act as part of a robust response to this virus,” Jones said in a statement.
The Rapid Coverage for Coronavirus Vaccines Act is co-sponored by Senators Bill Cassidy, R-La., Tina Smith, D-Minn, and Steve Daines, R-Mont, and would require private insurance plans to cover, with no cost sharing, any coronavirus treatment or vaccine that gets an A or B rating by the United States Preventive Health Services Task Force.
“When a vaccine is released for coronavirus, it needs to be available for all Americans as soon as possible. Vaccine coverage by insurance companies is key to this. This bill ensures that coverage,” Sen. Cassidy said in a statement.
“Amid this public health emergency, it’s critical that we prepare to protect the health and safety of people in Minnesota and across the country in every possible way,” Sen. Smith said in the statement. “One of the many steps we should take is to expedite the process requiring insurers to cover the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. This coverage could help more folks access treatment and offer some economic relief to families. I’m glad to help introduce this bipartisan effort and will work to move it forward.”
“This bipartisan bill mitigates the coronavirus outbreak by ensuring that folks have access to testing and vaccines without costs,” Sen. Daines said. “Montana families need access to these important preventive services, and financial barriers should not stand in the way during this national emergency.”