Don’t Overpay: Advice For Medicare Patients
Three out of four Americans eligible for the shingles vaccination still havent gotten it, according to the CDC. Not surprisingly, a 2015 report from the National Vaccine Program found that one of the main reasons adults skip recommended vaccines is the cost.
If youve been putting off getting your shingles shot because you were quoted a high price, check your Part D plan. You may be able to get it for less.
Confusion about insurance coverage for the vaccine can sometimes result in patients paying more than they should, Avitzur says.
Dont delay, as the consequences of shingles can be devastating, advises Avitzur, a neurologist who has seen firsthand the painful effects of lingering nerve damage.
Your best bet may be to get the shot at a pharmacy in your drug plans network. Youll still need to get a prescription from your doctor, but the pharmacy will bill your insurance company and youll pay the lowest out-of-pocket costs available under your plan.
If you would like to get vaccinated at your doctors office, ask up front about the cost. Does your doctor charge more to administer the shot than your plan allows? If so, youll be on the hook for the difference. Also see whether the office will bill your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan directly or work with a pharmacy in your network to handle the billing.
Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine As Free For All Seniors
Many people think that a vaccine that’s recommended by the CDC for those over age 50 would be fully covered by Original Medicare. However, there are a few reasons why you may end up paying hundreds of dollars for the two-dose regimen.
- Medicare coverage levels: Some Medicare drug plans have better cost-sharing benefits than others, and how much you pay for the shingles vaccine depends on the plan you choose.
- Pharmaceutical classification: Medicare classifies the Shingrix vaccine as a part of its pharmaceutical coverage, meaning it would fall under Medicare Part D coverage rather than Part A or Part B. In contrast, most private health insurance, either through an employer or through the marketplace, classifies the shingles vaccine as a part of its free preventative coverage.
- Type of pharmaceutical: Shingrix is a Tier 3 drug made by GlaxoSmithKline, and there isn’t a generic alternative. This could mean that your out-of-pocket costs are higher than for other medications.
How Can You Save On The Cost Of The Shingles Vaccine
These five tips can help you pay less for a shingles vaccine.
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Is The Shingles Shot Free For Seniors
The shingles vaccine is not free for all seniors, and how much you pay depends on your Medicare Part D plan or your Medicare Advantage prescription drug benefits. Seniors who don’t have a prescription drug plan will have to pay full price for the shingles vaccine or use a cost-saving method to get the vaccine at a discounted price.
Tips For Getting Vaccinated At The Pharmacy
Youll no doubt remember if youre due for your annual flu shot. But for other vaccinations, its a good idea to check with your physician about what immunizations are recommended for you based on your age and medical history.
Pharmacists in all states are allowed to administer a long list of vaccinations, but state laws varyfor example, you cant get hepatitis vaccines at the pharmacy in New York. Also, in some states, certain vaccines require a doctors prescription. When in doubt, check with your pharmacist.
According to Catizone, the following tips can help getting your vaccinations at the pharmacy go smoothly:
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What Treatment Options Are There For Shingles
There is no cure for shingles. Antiviral medicines may help shorten the duration and make it less severe. They may also help prevent pain. The available medicines your personal doctor may prescribe are most effective if you can take them within three days of the rash appearing.
Pain relievers may also help with the pain.
Topical relief recommendations include a cool washcloth or dabbing calamine lotion on affected areas. Additionally, oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.
Does Medicare Advantage Cover A Shingles Vaccine
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription coverage, then the shingles vaccine will be covered. If you dont have prescription coverage, youll have to pay for the vaccine yourself.
As with traditional Medicare, the cost of the vaccine can vary by plan. Youll save money by getting your vaccine from a pharmacy in your plans network.
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Shingrix: Doses And Vaccine Information
Shingrix is an injection, with two doses spaced two to six months apart. Shingrix is the CDC recommended vaccine for shingles prevention. This vaccine contains inactivated viruses, which makes it more tolerable for people with compromised immune systems. Receiving two doses of Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles.
Why Is The Shingles Vaccine Recommended
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix two to six months apart to prevent shingles and complications from the disease. The vaccine is typically administered to adults who are 50 years and older. There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.
It is also given to those who have received a live zoster vaccine in the past.
The studies report that two doses of Shingrix will be more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and its complication called postherpetic neuralgia.
The vaccine protects you at least 85 percent of the time for the first four years after vaccination.
You should get Shingrix even if you have a history as follows:
- Already had shingles
Also Check: How To Treat Shingles Symptoms
Indications For Tdap Vaccination
In addition to the standalone tetanus shot, it is also recommended that you get at least one Tdap booster as an adult, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis . It is also recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy.
However, the Tdap vaccine is currently not covered under the Part B benefit and may or may not be covered by your Medicare Advantage plan or Part D plan. Check your plan’s formulary.
How Long Does Shingrix Last
The Shingrix vaccine can remain effective for at least four years in most people and even longer in others. You must get the entire series to be protected against shingles, which includes two separate shots. Even if you have had the infection, getting vaccinated can still offer benefits because it may help reduce the risk of developing PHN.
Shingrix may not protect everyone, but it provides broader protection for older adults whose immune systems are declining with age or disease.
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What Parts Of Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine
According to Medicare.gov, a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan should cover all preventive vaccines, including the shingles shot. Medicare Advantage plans are typically a bundle of Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D. As long as your Advantage plan contains Part D, you should have coverage for the shingles shot. Some people call this plan Medicare Advantage with drug coverage.
How Well Do These Vaccines Work
HPV vaccination works extremely well. HPV vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90% of HPV-attributable cancers.
- Since HPV vaccination was first recommended in 2006, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 88% among teen girls and 81% among young adult women.
- Fewer teens and young adults are getting genital warts.
- HPV vaccination has also reduced the number of cases of precancers of the cervix in young women.
- The protection provided by HPV vaccines lasts a long time. People who received HPV vaccines were followed for at least about 12 years, and their protection against HPV has remained high with no evidence of decreasing over time.
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About The Shingles Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults over the age of 50 get the shingles vaccine because it’s the only way to protect against the disease and its associated side effects. The risk of getting shingles increases as you age or if you have a weakened immune system. Always consult your doctor to find out if the shingles vaccine is right for you.
The CDC-recommended vaccine, Shingrix, is a recombinant zoster vaccine that has two doses administered within six months of each other. It’s classified as a Tier 3 drug by most insurance companies, which means it’s a brand-name pharmaceutical with a higher copayment than a Tier 1 or 2 drug.
Use the Shingrix vaccine locator to find where the shingles vaccine is being offered, and check with your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage provider to see which locations give you the lowest price.
Does Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine Conclusion
Original Medicare A and B dont cover the shingles vaccine. However Medicare dictates that whatever Part D plan you have must have coverage, but the costs you would pay under your Part D plan can vary greatly between plans. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan that also has Part D coverage then you will also have coverage. Whether you have a stand-alone Part D plan or your Part D coverage is embedded in your Medicare Advantage plan, you are likely going to need to pay deductibles and copays for the vaccine. An alternative you may want to look at is the online discount programs. I used Goodrx in this blog as an example, but there are many out there to look at.
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Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Guideline Updates
Saslow and colleagues noted that the American Cancer Society presents an adaptation of the current ACIP recommendations for HPV vaccination. The ACS recommends routine HPV vaccination between ages 9 and 12 years to achieve higher on-time vaccination rates, which will lead to increased numbers of cancers prevented. Health care providers are encouraged to start offering the HPV vaccine series at age 9 or 10 years. Catch-up HPV vaccination is recommended for all persons through age 26 years who are not adequately vaccinated. Providers should inform individuals aged 22 to 26 years who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the series that vaccination at older ages is less effective in lowering cancer risk. Catch-up HPV vaccination is not recommended for adults aged older than 26 years. The ACS does not endorse the 2019 ACIP recommendation for shared clinical decision-making for some adults aged 27 through 45 years who are not adequately vaccinated because of the low effectiveness and low cancer prevention potential of vaccination in this age group, the burden of decision-making on patients and clinicians, and the lack of sufficient guidance on the selection of individuals who might benefit.
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How Does Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine
Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, does not cover the shingles vaccination but Medicare Part D does. To get this covered, you must enroll in either a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage . You may have a copayment for the shingles vaccine.
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What Are The Complications Of Shingles
The most common and lasting complication of shingles is nerve pain, whats called postherpetic neuralgia , which can last for months or even years, long after the rash has cleared up. According to the CDC, between 10% and 18% of people whove had shingles will develop PHN.
PHN is a stabbing or throbbing pain or weakness where the shingles rash had been. The risk increases with age and the pain lasts longer and is more severe than in younger people.8
In rare cases, shingles can develop into pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness and brain inflammation.9 Only 1% to 4% of people with shingles are hospitalized for complications, though these are typically older adults and people whose immune systems are weak or suppressed, and fewer than 100 people die from shingles each year.10
What Is Shingles And How Do You Catch It
Shingles is a painful skin rash that forms on one side of the body. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles can affect people who have had chickenpox, even if they had the illness long ago.
Once youve had chickenpox, the virus becomes inactive in the body and can reactivate years later. The virus can remain inactive in your nerve roots for many years, and then wake up and travel down the path of a sensory nerve to the skincausing shingles. You may develop shingles more than once in your lifetime.
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Vaccines At Pharmacies Covered
Vaccines will be covered at in-network retail pharmacies. Find an in-network pharmacy at etf.benefits.navitus.com .
Get vaccinated at any in-network pharmacy, using your pharmacy benefit.
- How much does it cost? $0, its free!
- Which vaccines are available? Influenza, Pneumonia, Tetanus, Hepatitis, Shingles, Measles, Mumps, Human Papillomavirus , Pertussis, Varicella, Meningitis
Just show your Navitus card at the pharmacy. If you prefer, you can still get vaccinated at your doctors office using your medical benefit.
If you are considering getting your vaccine/immunization from the pharmacy, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Contact the Pharmacy Ahead of Time
Not all pharmacies are able to administer all vaccines/immunizations for various reasons.
2. Make Sure To Use an In-Network Pharmacy
While most pharmacies participate in the Navitus network, and can administer vaccines/immunizations, not all of them do. A claim for a vaccine/immunization will be rejected if you use an out-of-network pharmacy and you will have to pay the full cost. If the pharmacy you prefer to use for your vaccine/immunization is not in the Navitus network , contact your health plan to see if they will cover your claim through the pharmacy under the medical benefit.
To find a in-network pharmacy contact Navitus at 1-866-333-2757 or visit them online at www.navitus.com.
3. Bring Your Navitus ID Card With You
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Does Medicare Cover Shingles Vaccines In 2022
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus . It produces a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters and typically shows up on one side of the body. The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past is at risk of getting shingles.
Shingles is a painful rash that occurs along the distribution of a nerve, called a dermatome, says Erum N. Ilyas, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and founder of AmberNoon. The virus lays dormant in the nervous system. Immunity likely plays a role in preventing the virus from reactivating. When immunity is low, the virus replicates and spreads down the nerve causing pain, inflammation, and blistering.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults older than 50 get the shingles vaccine. Shingles can cause long-term nerve pain and nerve damage. Getting two shingles vaccine doses two to six months apart has proven to be very effective at preventing shingles.
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Whats Shingrix Zostavax And Shingles
FDA approved in 2017, Shingrix is the leading preventive tool against shingles . Shingles is caused by a once dormant chickenpox virus rearing its ugly head to give you a painful rash that can last for up to four weeks. For some, long-term pain continues even after the rash is gone, a condition known as postherpetic neuralgia.
Since 99% of people in the US have chicken pox by age 40, and since the risk of shingles increases with age, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that every healthy adult over 50 get Shingrix.1 Shingrix is over 90% effective at preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia, making it the preferred shingles shot.2 But for those who may be allergic to Shingrix, another shingles vaccine, Zostavax, can be used.
Zostavax may also be covered by Medicare prescription drug insurance , but again, you should check to be sure.