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Changes To State Insurance Program May Make Getting Vaccines Harder

It could be harder for many children in Illinois to get their vaccines this year.

Starting Oct. 1, instead of getting vaccines directly from the state, doctors will have to purchase vaccines from the private market and get reimbursed.

The change affects children in Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan. Some doctors said the new process is too complicated and will make their administrative overhead more expensive. Doctors also said the change was only announced at the end of August and did not give them enough time to prepare and update systems.

Timothy Wall, a pediatrician in Chicago’s western suburbs, said the practice where he works gives 500 vaccines a day.

“Some of the physicians, I think, in the state are going to decide not to give the vaccines.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health said the change was prompted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The department said it is working closely with doctors and recently announced it has created a 2 month transition period to help doctors obtain vaccines while they update their systems.

The Department stressed that patients coverage has not changed.

Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at @shannon_h.




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