Changes to Vaccine Program Impacts TRICARE


By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Federal funding was recently cut from the Vaccine For Children program.

Under a new policy children insured solely with TRICARE were no longer eligible for state–supplied vaccines.

Vaccines For Children is a federally funded program designed to provide vaccines at no cost to children.

"It is enacted to give vaccines to children who otherwise would not be able to afford vaccines," said Cheryle Becker, South Central Public Health District.

This is how it works... the centers for disease control buy vaccines at a discount and distributes them to health care providers.

"It comes together seamlessly in Idaho, so that the providers that are part of the VFC, Vaccines for Children Program, receive vaccines,” said Becker.

Therefore, regardless of who your provider is or whether you have insurance it's easy to get your vaccines.

To purchase vaccinations on the open market is extremely expensive.

"For a child 12 to 15–months old if you purchase that vaccine by yourself, just on the open market, you will pay over $400,” said Becker.

Without VFC, physicians would have to purchase vaccines for all the children in the practice.

"Most physicians or healthcare providers, such as our healthcare district, could not provide those vaccinations,” said Becker.

After federal funding was cut, Governor Otter stepped in to make sure that children covered by TRICARE remained eligible for state–supplied vaccines.

"Governor Otter found the money to allow those children under the TRICARE program, to receive that vaccine along with other insured children,” said Becker.

Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation despite vast improvements over the last few years.

During the next several months state leaders will be working to develop a long terms solution to keep TRICARE–insured children eligible in the following years.

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