Federal Delegation Reminds Rhode Islanders that COVID-19 Vaccines and Tests Are Free for Everyone
$4.8 billion in new funding from American Rescue Plan will continue program that covers COVID-19 testing costs for uninsured
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today reminded Rhode Islanders that COVID-19 vaccines and testing continue to be available free of charge to everyone, regardless of insurance status.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week that the agency has set aside $4.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan to reimburse health care providers for administering COVID-19 testing free of charge to Americans who don’t have health insurance. HHS is providing reimbursement through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program, which also covers the costs of COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment for people without health insurance. To date, health care providers in Rhode Island have received more than $3.7 million in reimbursement from the federal government for providing COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and treatment to uninsured patients.
“COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, and effective. Help protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated,” said Senator Reed.
“COVID-19 vaccines and testing are completely free for all Rhode Islanders,” said Senator Whitehouse. “We secured federal funding to cover the costs so that out-of-pocket payments would not be an obstacle to crushing the virus and getting the country back on track.”
“No Rhode Islander should have to pay for a COVID-19 test or vaccine, and thanks to the American Rescue Plan, no Rhode Islander will,” said Congressman Langevin. “This crucial funding will help make sure that Rhode Island’s recovery remains strong, so that our state can emerge from this pandemic even better than before.”
“Vaccines and testing are the only way we are going to crush COVID,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This new federal funding will ensure that everyone who wants a test or vaccine can continue to get one free of charge. Once again, the Biden administration is leading the way out of this crisis.”
HRSA’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program reimburses providers at national Medicare rates. While the Biden administration has been focused on decreasing the uninsured rate, as evidenced by the more than 1 million people nationwide who have enrolled in quality health coverage through the current Special Enrollment Period, much work remains. There are approximately 40,000 uninsured individuals living in Rhode Island.
Rhode Islanders looking to make an appointment for a free vaccine should visit https://www.vaccinateri.org/. COVID-19 testing can be scheduled at https://covid.ri.gov/testing.
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