The Quandary of the Pricey Vaccination

Physician's Money Digest, July 2007, Volume 14, Issue 7

The New York Times has recently reported that the latest increase in the cost of vaccinations has made it very difficult for physicians to give them to their patients. And because insurance companies often refuse to reimburse the cost of pricey vaccinations, physicians can lose money on each dose delivered. As a result, the newest and most costly vaccinations are being avoided by many doctors. Because roughly 85% of the nation’s children receive their vaccinations from private doctors, this may create an eventual spike in otherwise preventable illnesses. The pediatrics academy and the American Medical Association have convened to address this concern while the government’s National Vaccine Advisory Committee is also studying the problem. Meanwhile, some insurance companies such as Cigna and Wellpoint have increased reimbursement rates for vaccines, and some pharmaceutical companies have given doctors 60 days to pay for the vaccines instead of 30.