Health

Delegates call on insurers to cover HPV vaccine

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 4, 2006

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Hailed as a landmark in preventive medicine for women when it was approved in June, insurers have so far been slow to cover the human papillomavirus vaccine or to adequately reimburse physicians for the costs associated with providing it. At its November Interim Meeting, the House of Delegates said that needs to change, directing the AMA to encourage insurers to pay for the medicine and advocate for vaccine assistance programs for the uninsured.

David A. Ellington, MD, a family physician and alternate delegate from Virginia, complained that even when insurers say they cover the vaccine doctors may be left holding the bag. "Insurers will give you 80% of what you pay for the vaccine and an administration fee that hardly covers electricity for the refrigerator," he said. "We want full reimbursement and adequate administration fees."

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that the HPV vaccine be given to girls 11 to 12 years old, though girls as young as 9 and women age 26 and younger can also receive it. The National Cancer Institute says women as old as 45 can benefit from the vaccination.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/12/04/hlbf1204.htm.

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