No changes in Medicaid or uninsured clients
Insured children may no longer be eligible for vaccines at health dept.

Wanda English Burnett

The Ripley County Health Department will be changing the way they give vaccines due to a state change in funding.
According to information from the local health department, their goal is to continue to provide vaccines. However, they will not be able to give vaccines to those with medical insurance that cover vaccinations.

David Welsh, M.D. Ripley County Health Officer noted, “The intention is NOT to leave children without the protection that vaccines provide, but to distribute vaccine costs to insurance policies that include coverage for vaccines.” He continued, “This sharing of costs will allow limited public dollars to stretch further in providing vaccine coverage to the children throughout Ripley County.”

Parents in Ripley County, especially those who need vaccinations for the upcoming school year, need to check their insurance now to find out if they have vaccination coverage. If they do, they will not be eligible at the local health department.

To determine the child’s eligibility some questions posed by the health department are:

• What vaccines if any does the policy cover?

• Is there a yearly dollar limit (cap) for vaccine coverage?

• Is there a co-pay?

• Is there a deductible?

• Is the policy percentage based?

If the child’s insurance does not include any vaccine coverage or specific vaccines are not covered, or they have a yearly dollar cap in vaccine coverage and that cap has been met and exceeded, the child may continue to receive vaccines at the health department.

The child will be considered “fully insured” and no longer eligible to receive vaccines at the health department if the policy has vaccine coverage that requires a deductible, co-pay or there is percentage based coverage.

There will be no changes in eligibility for children who have any form of Medicaid or who have no health insurance. These children will continue to receive vaccines at the health department as they have in the past.

The change will go into effect July 1 of this year.

Officials at the Ripley County Health Department know the value of vaccinations stating that they “protect our children from 17 different diseases that once caused severe illness, life-long deformities, and even death.”

They encourage parents to check into their health care coverage now to prevent children from going without the needed vaccinations. There will also be changes in eligibility for adult clients, those 19 and older. The local health department is in the process of determining how they can best fill this gap. They say they will provide that information to their adult clients and to the public as soon as possible.

The local health department asks those needing assistance to “bear with them” during this transition. If you have questions you can call the health department at 812-689-0506. “As always, our goal is to protect our children and community,” Dr. Welsh concluded.