Donatucci introduces bill to expand health care coverage for vaccines

HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, has introduced a measure designed to make immunizations more affordable and accessible in the commonwealth.

Donatucci’s H.B. 822 would amend state law to require health insurers to cover immunizations administered at a pharmacy by a pharmacist.

“Many of our pharmacies across the state offer life-saving immunizations administered in safe, convenient environments,” Donatucci said. “Patients can get influenza vaccines, for example, while also running their everyday errands. However, because these immunizations are not required to be covered by health insurance, many Pennsylvanians delay being vaccinated, or even avoid getting vaccinated altogether. I believe that by requiring health insurers to cover such immunizations, we can help cut costs to patients as well as promote good public health.”

Donatucci pointed out pharmacists’ role in helping to prevent widespread outbreaks of illnesses. In particular, she noted pharmacists’ quick and comprehensive response to the 2009 H1N1 virus outbreak, administering vaccines to many at-risk Pennsylvanians.

“By requiring health insurance companies to cover these immunizations, we can ensure Pennsylvanians are adequately protected against the flu and other dangerous illnesses each year,” Donatucci said.

House Bill 822 has been referred to the House Insurance Committee, where it awaits further review.