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Why some people are being charged for a free COVID-19 vaccine shot

Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 09:27:44-04

More than two million Arizonans are fully vaccinated. While the shot should be free to all, it's not working out that way.

The Let Joe Know team is hearing from more people who say they had to pay to get the vaccine.

Angie let me know she went to an HonorHealth event to get her vaccine. She says, "I was told it was free."

But later, she got a $78 bill from HonorHealth for the shot.

Government rules allow vaccine providers to seek reasonable fees from insurers for those insured and from the government for those who are not.

Medicare pays providers $40 per shot. But again, no vaccine costs can be passed on to the patient.

And when we went to HonorHealth, they agreed saying "this bill is from a primary care location and was sent in error. This patient has been notified and advised to disregard the bill."

Jessica let me know she went to a different clinic, One Life Medical Center in Queen Creek to get her vaccine.

She says she thought it would be free but says she had to "pay a $40 copay because I had to see a provider before receiving the vaccine."

She says there was no other option, so she paid.

We went to One Life Medical Center. They said, "this was an error on our part."

They say they are able to recoup administration costs, "however, this is not a direct charge to the patient and should never come out of the patient's pocket." This was our mistake... Our policy has been clarified to our staff."

Jessica is getting her $40 refunded.

Tom Bybell and his wife got a $154 bill from a MY DR NOW clinic in San Tan Valley for their two vaccine shots.

Annie says she went to the same clinic for her vaccine and had to pay $99.99 in order to get it.

When we got involved, MY DR NOW told us they "confirmed eight incidents where a patient was inadvertently billed due to an automated systems error."

They say Tom doesn't owe anything and Annie will get all of her money refunded.

If you were charged for a vaccine shot, I want to know. Email me at joe@abc15.com.

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