Study: Americans willing to pay more for greater vaccine coverage

ANN ARBOR, Mich. How much is it worth to you and your family to have a health insurance plan that covers the latest innovations in adult and childhood vaccines for certain types of cancer or even influenza and pneumonia?

A new national web-based study from the University of Michigan Health System found that about 80 percent of adults would be willing to pay an additional $3 to $6 each month in health plan premiums to have their health insurance automatically cover newly recommended vaccines.

The results of the study, the first to indicate broad public preference for coverage of all recommended childhood and adult vaccines in employer-sponsored health plans, are published in the May/June 2005 issue of Health Affairs.

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 5 million) and as many as 30 percent of privately insured adults (about 36 million) underinsured for new vaccines, and may contribute to immunization rates that fall short of national goals for widely recommended immunizations

With new vaccines on the horizon that will offer innovative tools to prevent infection and certain types of cancer, it is time to look toward a change in health insurance plans, says lead author Matthew Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P, 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.

"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 Davis. "But this study shows that by paying a little extra in health insurance premiums today, more people will have insurance coverage in the future for new va

Contact: Krista Hopson
University of Michigan Health System

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