Insurers OK Covering Swine Flu Shots

By Staff Report

Oct. 29, 2009

Illinois’ largest health insurers have agreed to cover the cost of administering swine flu vaccinations for all of their policyholders, state insurance regulators announced Tuesday, October 27.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Cigna are among the insurers that voluntarily will cover the full cost of the H1N1 vaccinations, the Illinois Department of Insurance said. The federal government is picking up the tab for the vaccine itself, which is now available at some local hospitals and is expected to be more widely distributed in coming weeks.

Some local insurers had previously said they would cover swine flu vaccine costs only for members whose policies covered vaccinations, which would have excluded some policyholders. But in recent weeks, those insurers and others told state regulators they would cover all of their members, including co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs.

Combined, the eight insurers that have agreed to the coverage account for 80 percent of all Illinois residents who have private insurance, said Michael McRaith, director of the Illinois Department of Insurance. The others include Humana, Health Alliance, Unicare and PersonalCare.

Many smaller carriers also are likely to fully cover swine flu vaccination costs, he said.

“Our concern was that some policyholders might have been deterred from getting the vaccine because of the potential cost,” McRaith said. “We were pleased to learn that the companies in fact were planning to cover all costs.”

Filed by Mike Colias of Crain’s Chicago Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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