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Why would your vaccine provider ask for insurance information when the shots are free?

11Alive viewer Mattie Strozier reached out to 11Alive when her provider asked for proof of insurance.

ATLANTA — A COVID-19 vaccine should be free whether you have insurance or not, but one 11Alive viewer got a bit of a surprise when she went for her shot.

“Can you tell me why the vaccination sights ask for your insurance information?” Mattie Strozier asked after her vaccine provider asked for proof of insurance.

It might happen to you, so on Mattie’s behalf 11Alive reached out to the Georgia Department of Public Health and others for answers.

A spokesperson for Public Health confirmed that vaccinations are free, but providers might ask for insurance information in an effort to “bill insurance for administration fees.”

According to the CDC, vaccine providers may seek appropriate reimbursement from private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or the COVID-19 Uninsured Program, but can not seek reimbursement from the vaccine recipient.

The reimbursement would go toward covering the provider’s cost of setting up a vaccine clinic and keeping vaccines in cold storage.

 Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner tells us that if a provider seeks reimbursement, your insurance company should not in turn seek money from you. If that happens, you can contact the Insurance Commissioner’s Customer Service team to complain.

Not every provider will ask for insurance information.

Northside Hospital told us they’re not billing insurance.

Still, don’t be surprised if it happens.

If a provider tries to charge you for a shot or turns you away because you don’t have insurance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to know. You can contact them by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS or through their website.