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MLN Connects Special Edition - December 2, 2021 - CMS Encourages People with Medicare to get COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to ensure that Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19 and to reduce stress across the nation’s health care system, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging those with Medicare who are fully vaccinated to get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Data shows that a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose increases immune response, which improves protection against COVID-19.
- Sending a letter to people with Medicare: All of the 63 million people who currently have Medicare will receive a letter encouraging them to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as possible.
- Conducting campaigns and paid advertising: This outreach will focus on those with Medicare who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and will include reminders about getting the annual flu shot.
- Including 1-800 MEDICARE reminders: Approximately two million people call 1-800-MEDICARE each month. They will hear a reminder to get their COVID-19 boosters at the beginning of their call.
- Including a message in Medicare Summary Notices: For people with Original Medicare, CMS will include a COVID-19 booster message in their Medicare Summary Notice (the explanation of benefits people receive when a claim is filed) over the next several months.
- Sending email reminders: CMS will send COVID-19 vaccine booster reminder emails to the more than 14 million people that receive Medicare emails.
- Delivering consistent communication via social media: The @MedicareGov Twitter handle will continue to tweet about the importance of COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
- Engaging local and national partners: CMS is contacting more than 500 organizations, with a potential reach of more than five million members, and supplying them resources from Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency is also offering webinars to allow partners to interact with experts on encouraging COVID-19 vaccination.
- Conducting outreach to health plans: CMS and CDC are continuing their outreach to health plans to help them understand best practices for encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations and parameters for coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
- Conducting outreach to nursing homes: CMS continues to work with nursing homes to increase COVID-19 vaccine and booster uptake. These efforts include deploying Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs)--operated under the Medicare Quality Improvement Program--to assist nursing homes with low rates of initial and booster vaccinations and disparities in access to vaccinations. CMS will continue to explore additional outreach efforts to further support nursing homes.
- Conducting media outreach: CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and other CMS leaders are encouraging COVID-19 vaccine boosters as part of their Medicare open enrollment outreach.
People with Medicare pay nothing when they get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance, or deductible. In addition, thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP), nearly all Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries must receive coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters without cost-sharing. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will also be covered without cost-sharing for eligible consumers of most health insurance issuers in the commercial market. People can visit vaccines.gov (English) or vacunas.gov (Spanish) to search for vaccines nearby.
CMS continues to explore ways to ensure maximum access to COVID-19 vaccinations. More information regarding the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and how the COVID-19 vaccine is provided through that program at no cost to recipients is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html and through the CMS COVID-19 Provider Toolkit.
CDC guidance on when to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster based on the last vaccine dose is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html.