Optum erroneously billed patients for COVID-19 vaccine

Some patients in New Mexico reported receiving a bill for the COVID-19 vaccine after visiting an Optum clinic, according to local news station KRQE.

One patient, Kim Federici, went to Optum Health's Journal Center Clinic to get the vaccine in January. She later received a bill for $34, charging her for the administration of the vaccine. 

The bill came as a surprise, because the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ensures that the vaccine is free for Americans. Specifically, the legislation prevents insurers from applying member cost-sharing, which includes copays, deductibles and coinsurance, to costs associated with coronavirus vaccinations. It also tacked on rules barring pharmacies, physicians and hospitals from billing patients for vaccine administration. 

Ms. Federici reached out to Optum about the bill and was told that it was a glitch in Optum's system that automatically sent a bill to patients who didn't have insurance.

"We apologize that some people have received a bill due to an administrative error. Patients do not need to pay fees associated with COVID-19 vaccinations and can disregard bills received related to their vaccine. We have addressed the issue and encourage anyone with questions to call us," Optum said in a statement to KRQE. 

Becker's Hospital Review has reached out to Optum for comment and will update the article accordingly. 


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