California’s newest COVID-19 vaccine incentive: Cash for residents on Medicaid

California announced another round of coronavirus vaccine incentives on Friday, offering up to $ 50 apiece to more than 11 million people in the state who purchase health insurance through Medicaid.

The money is part of a new $ 350 million plan to vaccinate more of the state’s Medicaid population as the state sees a surge in new cases attributed to the Delta variant, a more contagious and dangerous version of the state Coronavirus. Medicaid is the joint state and federal health insurance program for people with disabilities or low incomes.

Many states have used tax dollars to trick people into getting the coronavirus vaccine. States like Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio offered up to $ 1 million in a lottery drawing among those who received the vaccine.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom’s government paid out $ 116.5 million in incentives earlier this year, including $ 1.5 million each for 10 people and $ 50,000 for an additional 30 who received the vaccine . The state is distributing $ 50 grocery store gift cards to people who are between Jan.

California is one of the states with the highest vaccination rates, with around 76% of residents 12 and older receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. However, only 45% of the state’s Medicaid population has been vaccinated.

“We are working extremely hard to improve vaccination rates, but we believe we can and must do better to prevent further inequalities in COVID-19 infection and death among those cared for by (Medicaid),” he said the director of Medicaid, Jacey Cooper said.

California’s Medicaid program is the largest in the country, with more than 13.8 million people. But the incentives announced on Friday apply to around 11.7 million people who take out health insurance from private companies, which are then paid for by the state.

California is offering these companies $ 250 million in incentives for increasing vaccination rates among their members. The state has also allocated $ 100 million in incentive payments to people, which cannot exceed $ 50 each. Coper said these payments would most likely be in the form of grocery store gift cards.

Several groups of Medicaid recipients have low vaccination rates, including those who are housebound, have multiple chronic diseases, people of color, and people between the ages of 50 and 64 and 12 and 25, Cooper said.

The goal of the incentives, Cooper said, is to encourage the private insurance companies that manage the majority of the state’s Medicaid plans to vaccinate more of these people. This could include more GPs offering the vaccine in their offices and working with community organizations and boards.

“We’ll have to work harder to reach out to the beneficiaries and figure out how to make it more convenient,” said Cooper.

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