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Reps. Kim and Steel urge FEMA for answers.

Mar 5, 2021 | Health, Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – This week, Reps. Young Kim (CA-39) Michelle Steel (CA-48) sent a letter to Robert J. Fenton, Jr., Acting Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), urging the agency to remove their requirement that the county collect and bill vaccine recipient’s insurance information at county vaccination sites.

“The most recent guidance from FEMA now requires Orange County to not only collect private insurance information but also mandates the county file claims against the insurance policy and subsequently credit FEMA based on the “value of payments under the guise of programmatic prohibition of duplication of benefits,” the members wrote. 

On February 25, County Executive Officer Frank Kim sent a letter to the California congressional delegation raising the issue of overregulation and inconsistent guidelines related to the gathering of insurance information and billing insurance companies when administering the COVID-19 vaccine to county residents. Currently, the county’s vaccination initiatives are mostly funded through FEMA’s Public Assistance program. Costs not reimbursable by FEMA will be paid by the County General Fund. Executive Officer Kim highlighted the main concerns the County is facing, including the “conflicting and/or ambiguous guidance relative to the requirements for collection of vaccination recipients’ health insurance coverage information,” and “FEMA, CalOES or the County’s mandated use of vaccination recipients’ health insurance information.” 

In their letter to FEMA, Reps. Kim and Steel highlighted the hard work of the county in their efforts to vaccinate residents and requested answers on the differing directives from the agency.

“Orange County authorities have been working for almost a year to fight back against the pandemic and have been forced to make tough decisions as the costs mount. It has come to our attention that FEMA has been putting burdensome regulations and, in some cases, provided conflicting guidance related to the requirements for collection of vaccination recipients’ health insurance coverage information,” the members wrote. 

“We ask that you give full and fair consideration to removing this obstacle of gathering insurance information and billing insurance companies so that the county can more effectively and safely deliver vaccinations to the people of Orange County.” 

You can view the letter to FEMA here.

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