You got billed for your free COVID vaccine. Here's how to get paid back

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, but some people are still getting charged. Here's why.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
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Coronavirus vaccines should be 100% free. Here's what we know.

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The US has administered more than 187 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since the initial release. And if you've got an appointment to get your vaccine, you won't have to pay for it. Yet, some people have reported receiving a bill after getting their COVID-19 vaccination anyway. We'll explain what you need to know and how to get reimbursed.

The first thing you need to know is that the federal government is shouldering much of the cost in distributing the vaccine, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is taking further steps to make sure all Americans have access to the vaccine at no cost, the government organization has said. Providers cannot charge you for the vaccine or charge you directly for any administration fees, copays or coinsurance, according to new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are the three vaccine brands currently authorized by the FDA for emergency use in the US. (Here's where you can get a vaccine.) The vaccines are free and available to anyone living in the US, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. Read on for what we know about how you might be able to get your money refunded for a coronavirus vaccine if you receive a bill.

How much is the coronavirus vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine itself is free to all Americans, as noted by the CMS. The government organization also said it plans to make sure you can reimburse any FDA-approved coronavirus treatments you're charged for. Providers are not allowed to bill you for an administration fee directly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or charge an office visit or other fee if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination.

If you don't have insurance, the medical provider you used should be reimbursed for any COVID-19 treatment you receive through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, at no cost to you. The CDC says they can seek reimbursement from the recipient's plan or program for an administration fee.


You shouldn't be charged at all for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What if I receive a bill for my COVID-19 vaccine?

If you receive a bill for your COVID-19 vaccine, you may need to file a claim with your insurance company since they're required to cover approved preventive care under the Affordable Care Act

If you don't have insurance and receive a bill, regulations state that the doctors will be able to get paid through the Health Resources and Services Administration's Provider Relief Fund, according to the CDC, so you'll need to contact the clinic or hospital where you received the immunization. 

If you receive a bill for administration fees, follow the same protocols as above since providers can't charge you this fee.

For more information, here's how to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, what to know about COVID vaccine passports and what you can do when you're vaccinated.

Watch this: COVID-19 vaccine passports explained