AHIP, BCBSA team to boost vaccine access for seniors

COVID-19 vaccine
America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association are teaming up to increase access to vaccines for seniors. (solarseven/iStock/Getty Images Plus)(solarseven/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus)

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) are joining forces to boost access to vaccinations for seniors and vulnerable populations.

The two payer industry groups will launch the Vaccine Community Connectors pilot program, which aims to ensure that 2 million seniors in vulnerable communities, such as Black and Hispanic communities, receive vaccinations.

The program aims to operate on a quick timeline based on vaccine availability and will work alongside local, state and federal vaccine efforts.

“Vaccines save lives, and health insurance providers have been working hard to break down barriers that stand between Americans and COVID-19 vaccines,” said Matt Eyles, AHIP CEO, in a statement. “We will continue to work on that commitment with all levels of government and every organization that shares our goal until we defeat the COVID-19 crisis together.”

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Participating payers will harness their data and expertise to identify seniors at the greatest risk and who live in regions with low vaccine rates. They will also work with local organizations to educate people on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, according to the announcement.

The groups said they intend to combine claims and enrollee data with government data resources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Social Vulnerability Index, to determine the communities most in-need and the best solutions for those communities.

For example, there are communities who may see the most benefit from language services or mobile clinics, while others may instead need assistance with transportation, the groups said.

Insurers will also reach out to eligible seniors to assist them in scheduling appointments for vaccines, answer questions they may have about the shots, offer reminders for second doses and address barriers to access, such as transportation.

AHIP and BCBSA said that they also intend to collaborate with other key vaccine partners, such as pharmacies, on the initiative.

“The most vulnerable people in our country have suffered disproportionately from the COVID-19 crisis and we are determined to end this inequity,” said Kim Keck, BCBSA CEO, in a statement. “Through this initiative, we are committing our unique resources—our people, our data, and our enduring community ties—to quickly and equitably bring life-saving vaccines to those who need them most.”