Readout of HHS Secretary Becerra’s Meeting with National Health Insurance Leaders
Secretary Becerra reiterated HHS commitment to continued partnership with insurance providers to ensure that consumers can receive updated COVID-19 vaccines without facing out-of-pocket costs
On Wednesday, September 27th, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra met virtually with health insurance company leaders and national stakeholders to discuss how HHS will continue to partner with the private sector to ensure individuals have access to updated COVID-19 vaccinations. This meeting is the latest in an ongoing series of conversations between HHS and representatives from across the health care sector for over a year in preparation for vaccine commercialization.
During the meeting, Secretary Becerra highlighted the results of the important work done to provide the American people with updated COVID-19 vaccines and test kits. To date, more than six million vaccines being shipped to pharmacies and more than six million COVID-19 tests have been ordered by consumers from COVIDTests.gov. Two million Americans have received their fall COVID-19 shot, regardless of their income or health insurance status, all Americans can access vaccines free of charge, including the uninsured through the CDC Bridge Access Program.
The group then discussed the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program and the work being done by insurance providers to resolve recent technical issues which made it more difficult for their members to get vaccine shots. Secretary Becerra expressed his appreciation to insurance providers for taking immediate action to rectify these issues. The providers confirmed that they are working to address all issues quickly. Secretary Becerra also reiterated that HHS will continue to work closely with the providers until all issues have been addressed. The group also discussed how providers could help their members to better navigate provider websites and other systems to make it even easier to receive their vaccine.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made securing widely available COVID-19 vaccines for the American public at no-cost to them from their local provider, community health center or pharmacy a key priority. HHS continues to work closely with health insurance providers to ensure they are meeting their obligations to provide coverage for COVID-19 vaccines for participants, beneficiaries, and enrollees.
HHS has a strong record of partnering with health insurance providers across the nation to respond to COVID-19 and provide individuals with COVID-19 vaccinations.
The following representatives participated in the meeting:
- Margaret Murray, CEO, Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP)
- Ceci Connolly, President/CEO, ACHP
- Michael Bagel, Director, Public Policy, Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP)
- Dan Jones, VP Federal Affairs, ACHP
- Matt Eyles, President/CEO, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
- Julie Miller, General Counsel, AHIP
- Kelley Schultz, Executive Director of Commercial Policy, AHIP
- David Merritt, Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA)
- Kris Haltmeyer, VP Legislative & Regulatory Policy, BCBSA
- Mary Beth Donahue, President and CEO, Better Medicare Alliance
- Karen Lynch, CEO, CVSHealth
- Bruce Broussard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Humana
- Michael Stone, COO, UnitedHealth Care
- Cheryl Phillips, President and CEO, Special Needs Plan Alliance
- Brian Evanko, CFO, Cigna
- Elizabeth Hall, Vice President, Public Policy & Issues Management, Anthem
- Anthony Barrrueta, Government Affairs and Policy Lead, Kaiser
- John Dinesman, EVP of Government Affairs, Centene Corporation