Daines Urges Administration to Improve Access to Vaccines for Montana Seniors

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma stressing the need to ensure Montana’s vulnerable, elderly, and disabled Medicare beneficiaries have the tools and treatments they need to stay healthy during the pandemic, including access to vaccines.

“As the current COVID-19 pandemic rages on around the globe, researchers are racing to find a vaccine to protect and prevent further morbidity and mortality as a result of this novel virus. Older adults and persons with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are especially vulnerable to serious illness and complications from vaccine preventable disease,” Daines wrote. “Yet, Medicare coverage design for vaccines for these populations does not encourage access to this proven and cost-effective form of prevention. We urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to take action to address this important issue.”

Immunization coverage for Medicare beneficiaries is segmented between Medicare Part B, which covers vaccinations against influenza, pneumococcal and hepatitis B for at-risk patients and Medicare Part D, which covers all other commercially available vaccines when deemed medically necessary to prevent illness.

While many patients receive Part B-covered vaccines with no cost sharing, Part D vaccines are typically subject to cost sharing requirements. This discourages immunization among elderly, disabled and chronically ill populations who account for especially vulnerable during these challenging times.

Daines is encouraging CMS to work with Part D sponsors to offer either a $0 vaccine tier, or to place vaccines on a tier with low cost-sharing.

To read the full letter, click HERE.


Daines is committed to supporting Montana seniors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring they receive the care they need during these challenging times. 

On August 12th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urging the inclusion of senior living providers in a future allocation from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.

On July 6th, 2020, Daines introduced the Emergency Support for Nursing Homes and Elder Justice Reform Act of 2020 to support the health and safety of Montana seniors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and extend funding for vital Elder Justice Act programs. 

On June 9th, 2020, Senator Daines announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would be distributing additional relief funds to assist our most vulnerable Montanans receiving care in safety-net hospitals, assisted living facilities, and home and community-based settings. 

On May 22nd, 2020, Senator Daines announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would be directing $15,615,000 to 60 Montana nursing facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On April 16th, 2020, Senator Daines sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Azar urging the department to direct funding from the Coronavirus economic relief package to support nursing homes, skilled nursing centers, and senior living communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.