Carson picked for immunization plan |

Carson picked for immunization plan

The state has picked Carson City to develop a pilot program designed to make insurance companies cover some of the cost of immunizations.

The legislative Interim Finance Committee on Tuesday approved a $404,992 federal immunization grant to have Carson City’s health district work with the state to develop “an in-network provider with private health insurance plans.”

The problem, according to Marla Williams, deputy Health Division administrator, is that far too often, people get their immunizations for their children from health districts in the state for free or reduced cost when they have health insurance that covers the shots. Currently, all Nevada health departments treat patients who have private insurance, but have no way to recoup the cost of those treatments.

She said the plan would give health districts the ability to bill insurance companies when there is private insurance coverage.

But she said the details have to be worked out so the Health Division decided to use Carson City’s Health and Human Services Department as a pilot to develop the program. Once that is done, she said, the program will be expanded to Nevada’s other 16 counties.

Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, expressed concern that that might cause insurance companies to fight back.

“The last thing we want to do is incentivize insurance companies to not cover immunizations at all,” she said.

Assemblywoman April Mastroluca, D-Las Vegas, said her daughter needed an immunization after turning 18 and the pediatrician wouldn’t do it. She said her adult doctor wouldn’t do it because he doesn’t do immunization shots, so the health district was their only option despite having insurance.

Williams said that those issues will be worked out during the pilot but that the goal is to avoid any added burden on parents seeking immunizations.