Children’s Vaccine Purchasing Cooperative Disbands
A children’s vaccine purchasing cooperative announced last month between Blue Cross of Idaho and the Idaho Immunization Program is ending due to a lack of competitive bids for vaccine purchase. On June 15th, the State and Blue Cross announced a partnership to help maintain vaccine availability for Idaho children insured by Blue Cross. The State solicited bids for supplying the vaccine, but received only one bid, which was incomplete and not competitive with current vaccine costs.
“The concept of the partnership was good, for it would have resulted in convenience for physicians and offered savings for parents,” says Jane Smith, Division of Health Administrator. “We are disappointed we cannot proceed, but want to commend Blue Cross for stepping forward to try to make this work. We value their commitment to improve the health of Idaho citizens through efforts like this.”
Due to program changes that began July 1, parents of insured children are responsible for deductibles and copays for their children’s vaccines. The intent of the purchasing cooperative was for the State to purchase and supply vaccines at a reduced rate for the insured children, benefiting both providers and parents. With no competitive bids, the purchasing program cannot offer any savings and will discontinue.
The State will still provide immunizations for children eligible for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which includes those who are uninsured, underinsured, enrolled in Medicaid, or who are Native American/Alaskan Native. Approximately 60% of Idaho children are eligible for the VFC program.
(Editors: For more information please contact DHW Public Information Officer Tom Shanahan, 208-334-0668.)