People mistakenly charged for COVID-19 vaccine will get refund

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DENVER — The novel coronavirus vaccine is supposed to be free, but people are reaching out to Contact Denver7 after getting the shot and then getting a bill.

Our consumer investigator Jaclyn Allen went to get answers as to why and how you can get the charge dropped.

“We found out about the vaccine fortunately on Channel7 News in the morning,” said Sam Shapiro, who heard about the drive-by clinic at Jefferson County Stadium and immediately signed up. “Very simple, very easy, very straightforward.”

He and his wife, Karen, couldn’t wait to get their COVID-19 shots, but then they also got something they weren’t expecting.

“Karen, my wife, got her bill first,” said Sam, who said the bill included an office fee of $124, and later Sam also got a bill for the same amount.

The CDC said that COVID shots should be provided at no cost to the patient, and patients cannot be charged administration fees, co-pays or office visit fees.

“They never returned a phone call,” said Shapiro, with Stride Community Health Center, who said when he could not reach anyone over the phone, he went in person to challenge the charges. “My profession was an auditor. So I’m somewhat anal. And I want to make sure things are done right. “

“There was an error that was made. There are… there’s no reason for any of our patients, whether they received a test for COVID or a vaccine that anybody pay out of pocket,” said Ben Wiederholt, the President & CEO at Stride Community Health Center. “And we’re following up with every individual. It looks like it’s very, very isolated. And I think what’s important for all the viewers to know is, if they receive out-of-pocket charges that they were an error and that we’re working hard to correct it and get the full refund.”

The Shapiros charges were removed, and now their goal is for no one else to pay for a mistake.

“Of course, you know, you shouldn’t pay for something that you don’t have to,” said Shapiro.

Editor’s note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here.