Press Releases
June 22, 2021

Health Plans Offer New Vaccine Incentives to Medicaid Members


Health Plans Offer New Vaccine Incentives to Medicaid Members

Gift cards, rewards, free rides aim to boost vaccination rate

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s Medicaid Managed Care plans are opening a new front in an all-hands effort to get more current Medicaid members vaccinated against COVID-19: direct rewards to members, including $50 gift cards for the initial shot.

Finding and getting the vaccine is easier than ever for Medicaid members with COVID Vax on the Spot, a website offering information on community vaccine events and walk-in opportunities at pharmacies, as well as details on the $50 incentive being offered by all plans.

The coordinated effort by plans, providers and pharmacists is a response to Gov. Mike DeWine’s recent call to improve the COVID-19 vaccination rate among Medicaid members. As of late May, Medicaid members were less than half as likely to be vaccinated as Ohioans in general.

Working together, Aetna, Buckeye Health Plan, CareSource, Molina Healthcare, Paramount Advantage and UnitedHealthcare have set a goal of helping 900,000 more members get vaccinated by mid-August.

Along with efforts to debunk myths about the vaccine and regular reminders that the vaccine is safe, effective and free, the plans hope to boost the numbers with rewards. Just as Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery produced a sharp uptick in vaccinations, a smaller incentive — but a sure thing — should do the same. Every current Medicaid member, age 18 or older, who receives the first vaccination between June 15 and August 15 will be eligible for a $50 gift card. The retailer will vary by plan.

Because lack of transportation often is a barrier for Medicaid members, they can arrange for free rides by calling their health plans two days in advance.

The incentives come in addition to special assistance the health plans are giving providers and pharmacists who can administer vaccines.

“We’re doing everything we can to make vaccination as easy and convenient as possible for our provider partners,” said Kelly O’Reilly, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Health Plans. “Now we’re working together on the most important piece of the puzzle: making it work for our members. These incentives will give them even more reason to get protected from COVID-19.”