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Did you pay for a COVID-19 vaccine? Washington wants to know

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner set up a website where people can file complaints on potential COVID-19 vaccine charges. Vaccines are supposed to be free.

WASHINGTON — The State of Washington wants to know if anyone is charged for receiving COVID-19 vaccines, which are supposed to be free for everyone living in the U.S.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner set up a website where people can file complaints related to potential vaccine charges.

“We're going to find that some people are finding some challenges that were not anticipated, and some providers and some health insurers may not have gotten the word the way they should have,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

No one should be charged out-of-pocket costs or receive a bill from their vaccination site, he said. It does not matter if a person has private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or is uninsured.

Kreidler said his office has received 65 complaints from people who believe they were improperly billed for COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic.

He recently extended an emergency order requiring insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any patient who needs COVID-19 testing.

Kreidler also extended a second order protecting consumers from surprise bills for lab fees related to testing.

Some private companies can still charge patients for tests that are not medically necessary, for example, if they just want some peace of mind before traveling or visiting family.