The administration has reportedly been working on the initiative for weeks and hopes to announce the policy change on Tuesday or Wednesday.
At least two vaccine developers have said they intend to apply for emergency use authorization before the end of the year, which allows the vaccine to be distributed before official FDA approval. during a state of emergency.
An official told Politico that the administration “is working hard to ensure that no American has to pay for the vaccine.” The expected plan will also address other issues related to COVID-19, such as allowing more flexibility for Medicaid patients seeking treatment for the coronavirus, two people familiar with the plan told the media outlet.
CMS and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CMS administrator Seema Verma reportedly said earlier this month at the HLTH virtual conference: “I think we’ve found a way forward” on the coronavirus vaccine.
“It was very clear that Congress wants to make sure Medicare beneficiaries have this vaccine and that there is no cost sharing,” he said.
“And so, stay tuned, you’ll see more from the agency on this very soon,” he added.
The administration announced a partnership with CVS and Walgreens when a vaccine is licensed that would not impose direct costs on the elderly and health workers in long-term care facilities. But that deal only covered a fraction of Medicare users in the country.