Vaccinations for Medicaid Patients Are Far Behind Those for Privately Insured

Washington, D.C., resident Michael Tyree wasn’t sure about getting the coronavirus vaccine at first.

“I thought about it for a little over a month,” said the 70-year-old retiree, who relies on Medicaid for health care.

But his sister insisted that the vaccine be administered before he went to visit her. He went to CVS last year to get his shot.

Many of his Medicaid patients remain on the fence. People who are insured by Medicaid — the joint federal-state program that provides health care coverage to more than 78 million people with low incomes or disabilities — are less likely to be vaccinated against the coronavirus than those with private insurance, according to a report by the National Academy of State Health Policy.

California has complete national data, but it is difficult to find them. reported last month57% of Medicaid recipients had received at least one vaccine dose, compared to 84% for all residents. Other states have also reported. similar gaps.

The majority of Medicaid enrollees in the United States are people of color. hit some of those communities hardest. It has also taken a special toll on people with disabilitiesMedicaid is available to those who meet the eligibility criteria. But along with common reasons for vaccine hesitancy — such as lack of trust in government or the health care system — Medicaid patients may also have more difficulty taking time away from low-paying jobs to get a shot, experts say.
“It’s very important that we are making sure that vaccines are available to all populations of people,” said Dr. Michelle Fiscus, a public health consultant with NASHP who helped author the report, “especially those who have already experienced disproportionate burdens from COVID-19.”

The report recommended state Medicaid programs upgrade their data systems in order to know how many of their patients have had coronavirus vaccines. It also recommended they pay doctors for their time counseling patients on vaccination, even if the patients don’t end up accepting the shot. The Biden administration moved in December to require states to cover this type of counseling for children’s coronavirus vaccines. Doctors have pushed the administrationDo the same for adults.

“That is a disincentive to health care providers to take the time to have that talk if they can’t be paid for that time,” Fiscus said. “So it’s really important that medical providers be appropriately compensated.”

The pandemic has highlighted states’ poor record in inoculating Medicaid patients against preventable disease. According to a study, Medicaid-insured adults are less likely than those without private insurance to have received all recommended vaccines, such tetanus and influenza. March reportThe Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

However, Medicaid agencies in the state have a better system. a lot on their plateApart from vaccinations, the Biden administration is expectedIn the coming months, the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus will be ended. This would also mean that states will no longer have to keep current Medicaid patients on their rolls. Agencies will have to reevaluate recipients’ eligibility when that happens; millions of people may loseThey are eligible for Medicaid coverage.