Ciresi: Pharmacist-administered vaccinations must be covered by health insurers

HARRISBURG, Feb. 18 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, has reintroduced legislation that would require health insurers to cover immunizations administered at pharmacies across Pennsylvania.

House Bill 532 was referred to the House Insurance Committee after introduction this week.

“This is no-nonsense legislation that will guarantee continued convenience and accessibility to consumers by ensuring a cost-effective option,” Ciresi said. “Inexplicably, under current Pennsylvania law, insurers are not required to cover pharmacist-administered immunizations, and vaccinations can become costly for consumers. Especially as our world continues to fight through a global pandemic, it’s absurd that any hurdles exist in this commonwealth that might prevent people from getting vaccines for infections like influenza, pneumococcal disease and hepatitis B.”

In 2002, the General Assembly amended the Pharmacy Act to allow pharmacists to administer medications, biologicals and immunizations, which provided significantly more convenience and accessibility for consumers. Researchers have estimated that including pharmacies as locations to dispense vaccinations during flu epidemics would avert millions of flu cases, prevent thousands of deaths and save billions of dollars in productivity losses and medical costs. Yet health insurers are not required to cover the costs of these preventative measures.

The same bill was introduced during the 2019-20 legislative session and achieved bipartisan support, but it never progressed beyond the House Insurance Committee.

“Many of us, both Democrats and Republicans, want to see this commonsense legislation receive the attention it deserves this session,” Ciresi said. “Now more than ever, it’s imperative we ensure affordable, potentially life-saving immunizations administered by pharmacists are covered by all health insurers.”

For more information, contact Ciresi’s office at (484) 200-8265.