COVID-19 Vaccines Are Available At No Cost for Uninsured Pennsylvanians

Pennsylvania's Acting Physician General Dr. Denise JohnsonPennsylvania's Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

HARRISBURG, PA – The Wolf Administration on Thursday visited Hamilton Health Center to remind Pennsylvanians who are uninsured and need a COVID-19 vaccine that these vaccines are available at no cost regardless of whether they have health insurance.

Each of the three COVID-19 vaccines are available at no out-of-pocket cost. If you have insurance, that information may be collected as you make the appointment or receive your vaccine, but if you are uninsured, you can and should still get vaccinated wherever you are able to get an appointment.

“Everyone has the power to take control of their health and protect themselves from COVID-19 with the available vaccines,” Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “The fact that they are free of charge makes getting vaccinated more attainable for both our youth and adults. If you have already been vaccinated, please encourage your loved ones to get the information they need to make the decision to get a COVID-19 vaccination to protect themselves from the virus.”

Pennsylvanians who are uninsured are encouraged to consider options available through Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program (Medical Assistance), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Pennie, Pennsylvania’s health insurance marketplace. While COVID-19 vaccines are available at no-cost for everyone, it is still important to have health care coverage to protect yourself and your family in the event of an illness, injury, or other unexpected events.

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COVID-19 vaccines are the most important resource in our continued fight against this virus. Please do not let fear of a bill stop you from getting one of these life-saving vaccines as soon as you can,” said Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “The last year has showed that our circumstances can change quickly and dramatically, so please do not miss this opportunity to protect yourself. If you or a loved one are currently uninsured, there are options that can help give the peace of mind that comes with having health coverage.”

Applications for Medical Assistance, CHIP, and other assistance programs administered by DHS can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. For those who prefer to submit a paper application, options are available. Although our County Assistance Offices (CAO) remain closed, paper applications are available for pick-up. Applications can also be printed from the website, or requested by phone at 1-800-692-7462 and mailed to their local CAO or placed in a CAO’s secure dropbox, if available. You do not need to know your own eligibility in order to apply.

“Fear of an unforeseen bill should not be the reason any Pennsylvanian forgoes the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Commissioner Jessica Altman. “For those Pennsylvanians with health insurance, your health insurer will cover the full cost of your vaccine. If you do not have health coverage, first know that the vaccine is still available at no cost to you and cost should not be a barrier to securing your vaccine, but also know that there is no better time to obtain health insurance coverage for you and your family.”

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Pennsylvanians can shop for health insurance through pennie.com, Pennsylvania’s state-run health insurance marketplace. While buying health insurance can be intimidating and confusing, Pennie makes it less so with online tools and access to free certified professionals ready to help Pennsylvanians navigate plans and find the right one to fit their needs. The American Rescue Plan Act greatly expanded subsidies available for people purchasing through Pennie in 2021 and 2022, making this critical protection more affordable for individuals and families in Pennsylvania. Pennie has also extended the window for Pennsylvanians to enroll in a quality, commercial health plan until August 15, but do not wait to explore coverage options and savings available.

“Our top priority is to connect Pennsylvanians to quality, affordable health coverage; and there has never been a better opportunity to do so with the savings resulting from the American Rescue Plan. Currently, 33 percent of those enrolled in these savings are now paying less than $10 a month for their premiums and 45 percent are paying less than $50 per month. We strongly encourage all uninsured Pennsylvanians to come to pennie.com right now and take advantage of this unique opportunity,” said Pennie’s Chief of Staff Kyrie Perry.

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If a consumer receives an unexpected bill related to COVID-19, or other healthcare services, they are encouraged to contact the Pennsylvania Insurance Department at 1-877-881-6388.

Since December 2020, more than 9.7 million Pennsylvanians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 4.2 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are available across Pennsylvania and are strongly encouraged for all people ages 12 and older. For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccine providers in your community, visit the Department of Health’s website.

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