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DHS Reaffirms that Every Wisconsinite Can Get COVID-19 Vaccine

With everyone ages 16 and older now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) encourages everyone to schedule an appointment. Anyone that lives, works, or studies in Wisconsin can get vaccinated for free—even if you cannot provide proof of residency, do not have a valid state identification card, or do not have insurance.

“This pandemic has proven that our health is connected with the health of everyone in our community. COVID-19 is a contagious virus that spreads from person to person but the vaccine helps stop the spread. The more people that are vaccinated, the more protected Wisconsin is from the virus. That is why our biggest priority is to get 80% of Wisconsin vaccinated,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “To achieve that community immunity, we must work to remove barriers that prevent Wisconsinites from accessing the vaccine. If you don’t have an ID or insurance, you will not be turned away.”

DHS strives to promote health equity in Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts which includes minimizing barriers that prevent individuals from accessing the vaccine. Both ID and health insurance requirements create barriers for many underserved communities and may deter individuals that lack a valid driver’s license or state ID card.

“I want to be sure everyone in Wisconsin knows that they can get a COVID-19 vaccine without cost to them, regardless of their insurance status,” said Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) issued a bulletin to all health plans directing them to cover all costs associated with administration of the COVID-19 vaccination, without cost sharing.

As part of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all vaccinators to provide vaccines at no cost. DHS also continues to remind vaccinators that they cannot require people to provide an ID and cannot collect a co-payment or other charges for vaccinations. Those with insurance may have an administration fee or charge from the vaccinator but that fee is covered by public and private insurance plans and cannot be passed onto to the patient.

“Typically when a vaccinator asks for proof of ID, they are using that documentation to confirm the appointment or match health records with the patient. However, we have again reaffirmed to all of Wisconsin’s 2,000 plus vaccinators that they cannot require ID or insurance,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. “We are working to ensure that any reports of Wisconsinites being turned away from their vaccination appointments are addressed and resolved immediately.”

If you or someone you know has been turned away by a vaccinator because of their ID and/or health insurance, please report the violation by emailing DHSCovidVaccinePublic@Wisconsin.gov or calling 844-684-1064 (toll-free).