Vaccines keep us healthy and protect us from catching devastating diseases. But what about the children who have parents who can’t afford vaccines?
The good news: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most insurance companies to cover the cost of all recommended vaccines (including seasonal flu) without charging a deductible, copayment or coinsurance. Most are free as long as they are administered by an “in-network” provider.
And there is also a federally funded program to help provide vaccines to children without insurance or those that have insurance that doesn't cover vaccines. The Nevada Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program helps provide vaccines at no cost for eligible children through providers enrolled in the program. This helps ensure that all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on schedule.
Who Is Eligible for the VFC Program?
· Under 19 years of age
· American Indian or Alaska Native
· Underinsured if receiving VFC vaccines at a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic
What Is Underinsured?
Underinsured means your child has health insurance, but it:
· Doesn't cover vaccines, or
· Doesn't cover certain vaccines, or
· Covers vaccines but has a fixed dollar limit or cap for vaccines. Once that fixed dollar amount is reached, your child is then eligible.
Underinsured children are eligible to receive vaccines only at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) or Rural Health Clinics (RHC). An FQHC is a type of provider that meets certain criteria under Medicare and Medicaid programs. Visit https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ to find one near you.
What Is the Cost?
There is no charge for any vaccines given by a VFC provider to eligible children, but there can be some other costs with a vaccination:
· Doctors can charge a set (or standard) fee to administer each shot. If your child is VFC-eligible, he or she cannot be refused a vaccination because you are unable to pay the fee for administering the shot.
· There can be a fee for the office visit.
· There can be fees for non-vaccine services, like an eye exam or blood test.
Where Can My Child Get Vaccinated?
If your child is VFC-eligible, check that your child's doctor is a VFC Program provider.
The best place to take your child depends on where you live and what type of eligibility your child has under the VFC Program. Visit the Find a Provider page of vfcnevada.org for more details.