Requiring insurers to cover pharmacy vaccinations for adult Californians could save lives, study finds

A new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research suggests that requiring insurers to pay for adult vaccinations performed at pharmacies could help keep communicable diseases such as influenza and human papillomavirus in check.

A new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research suggests that requiring insurers to pay for adult vaccinations performed at pharmacies could help keep communicable diseases such as influenza and human papillomavirus in check. The researchers note that the overall vaccination rate for adults in the state lags behind federal recommendations. Barriers to getting immunized include unaffordable upfront costs, spotty and confusing insurance coverage, lack of access to a physician, lack of awareness, and personal reasons. "Including pharmacy-administered vaccines as a covered benefit will help many adult patients who have financial constraints, transportation issues or are unable to take time off work during a doctor's office hours," says lead author Ozlem Equils. "It's a step toward making adult immunizations more accessible for more Californians." The researchers suggest that state lawmakers mandate that the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance expand the insurance pharmacy benefit to include adult vaccinations under all public and commercial plans.