OBJECTIVE: The goal was to elicit perspectives of selected health insurance plan medical or quality improvement directors regarding factors related to coverage and reimbursement and perceptions of financing as a barrier to child and adolescent immunization.
METHODS: Medical or quality improvement directors from 20 plans selected by America's Health Insurance Plans were invited to complete an online survey in July 2007. Respondents who agreed to follow-up interviews were invited to participate in telephone interviews conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff members in August 2007.
RESULTS: Fifteen plans (representing >67 million enrollees) responded to the online survey. All respondents covered all Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices–recommended child and adolescent vaccines in all or most products. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations were the most commonly cited criteria for coverage decisions (86.7%) and coverage modifications (100%). Factors affecting reimbursement that were cited most often were manufacturer's vaccine price (80%) and physician feedback (53.3%). In follow-up interviews with 10 self-selected respondents, manufacturer's price (7 of 10 plans) and physician feedback (4 of 10 plans) were identified as the most-important factors affecting reimbursement. Respondents said that reimbursement delays were most commonly attributable to providers' claim submission errors or patient ineligibility. Some respondents thought that vaccine financing was a barrier (4 of 10 plans) or somewhat a barrier (2 of 10 plans) to providing immunizations; others (4 of 10 plans) did not.
CONCLUSION: Although these data suggest that health insurance coverage for recommended vaccines is high, coverage is not universal across all products offered.