Since the cost of newly approved vaccines has been on the rise during the past few years, some health insurance plans have been resistant to cover them. This trend has left about 15 percent of privately insured children (about five million) and as many as 30 percent of privately insured adults (about 36 million) underinsured for new vaccines, and may contribute to immunisation rates that fall short of national goals for widely recommended immunisations

"Unless we start to think about paying for vaccines in a new way, vaccines of the future may be available to people only if they pay out-of-pocket, and that's not a workable solution for everyone,” says Matthew Davis, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics, internal medicine and public policy in the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit in the U-M Health System's Division of General Pediatrics.

As part of the study, participants were asked to consider a situation in which they were employed and offered a health plan as a benefit, which would be the only source of health insurance coverage for them and their families. Plan premiums were $45 per month for individuals and $179 per month for families, and study participants also could opt for no coverage.

Overall, about four of out five study participants said they would be willing to bear a minimally higher premium cost (about $3 to $6) each month to guarantee coverage of newly recommended vaccines.

"This study shows a strong interest of the public in new vaccines, and suggests innovative ways to structure health insurance plans so that the public can benefit from new vaccines in the future,” says Davis. "Policymakers, physicians and public health officials need to examine enrollees' preferences as they consider remedies for vaccine underinsurance.”

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Michigan Health System