Thursday, September 28, 2023

Is Shingles Vaccination Covered By Medicare

How To Get A Flu Shot With An Aetna Medicare Plan

Relief coming to those on Medicare who can’t afford shingles vaccine

To use your Aetna Medicare Advantage plan to receive a fully-covered flu shot, youll first want to schedule an appointment with a participating provider. Simply log into your secure online Aetna account and use the companys provider search tool to locate a participating pharmacy, clinic, doctors office or other provider near you who offers flu shots.

You can also use the online Aetna Find a Pharmacy search tool to locate an Aetna-participating pharmacy near you where you may receive the flu shot at no cost.

Read Also: Where Is The Shingrix Vaccine Given

Does Aetna Medicare Cover Shingles Vaccine

Vaccinations are a critical part of overall health for developing bodies, but theyre also beneficial for adults who require protection from viruses. Following a proper vaccination schedule as recommended by a physician can help to prevent a number of conditions, including the herpes zoster virus, also known as shingles.

Understanding the Effects of ShinglesWhen someone contracts shingles, the disease typically manifests itself through the development of a painful rash. This rash is often red in color and may also include the development of blisters. Those affected may also develop a fever, experience fatigue and suffer from frequent headaches during an outbreak. The rash associated with shingles will usually be located on one side of the torso, but it may appear on both sides or on other areas of the body.

Because the virus takes hold in nerve tissue, pain medication specifically targeting nerve damage may be used. Even after someone has suffered an outbreak and it looks like the symptoms are gone, the disease can still lie dormant for years before striking again. Transmission of shingles often happens through contact with the rash and affected cells that may leak from a blister.

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How Much You Might Still Have To Pay

According to Consumer Reports, the shingles vaccine costs around $217 at full price, but the average cost for people with Medicare Part D is $50 for each shot. Some plans have a higher copay, while some plans charge less or even $0.

Before you go to the pharmacy to get vaccinated, call them to find out the current price of the vaccine, and call your insurer to confirm that they will cover it. To get the lowest copay, make sure the pharmacy is in your insurers network.

You can also ask your doctor about getting vaccinated at the doctors office, but make sure to ask them how much they charge for the vaccination and if they can bill your insurer.

Some doctors may charge more for the vaccine than your insurer will cover, and some may expect you to pay out of pocket and be reimbursed later. If your doctor cant bill your insurer, then ask them to write you a prescription for an in-network pharmacy instead.

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Does Medicare Advantage Cover The Shingles Vaccine

Medicare Advantage plans are private health insurance plans that are approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must cover the same services as Medicare Part A and Part B, but they can also offer additional benefits. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover the shingles shot, but it is not required. It is important to talk to your insurance broker or insurer to find out whether your Medicare Advantage plan will cover the vaccine.

What Are The Complications Of Shingles

Vaccinations

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

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Does Medicare Cover Shingrix

While Original Medicare Medicare Part A and Part B does not cover the cost of the shingles vaccine, or Shingrix , you can purchase private plans Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plans that do cover the cost.

It is important to note that even if your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan covers the shingles shot, you may have a copayment or other out-of-pocket costs to pay. Check with your plan for particular details.

Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover all commercially available vaccinations, except for those already covered under Original Medicare. But these plans will pay only if the vaccinations are considered reasonable and necessary to prevent illness.

Vaccines Covered by Medicare Part D Plans

  • Vaccines related to treatment of an injury or exposure to a disease or condition

Why Is The Shingles Vaccine Not Covered By Medicare

Medicare Part B covers COVID-19, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines. It may also cover the Hepatitis B vaccine if your doctor thinks you are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. However, original Medicare doesn’t cover the shingles vaccine, and it’s unclear exactly why.

However, you may be covered for the shingles vaccine if you purchase Medicare Part D insurance through an approved private insurer or have a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes Part D coverage. However, you’ll be liable for your Part D deductible if you haven’t already paid it in the year you have your shingles vaccine. Part D deductibles vary widely between providers, but there is a mandatory maximum cap of $445 as of 2021.

The only commercially available shingles vaccines are Shingrix and Zostavax. The average cost of a Shingrix shot is around $190, so beneficiaries who haven’t yet paid their deductible are likely to end up paying for the entire cost of their shingles vaccine.

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Who Needs The Shingles Vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the shingles vaccine for people aged 50 and older. It is a manufactured inactivated vaccine intended to prevent shingles. The vaccine is administered in two separate doses given by intramuscular injection, separated by two to six months.

The shingles vaccine is considered an important vaccine for seniors because our immune system weakens as we age. The recommendation for vaccination is based on the potential severity of symptoms and long-term complications.

A shingles vaccine called Zostavax is no longer used in the U.S. as of November 2020. If you received that vaccine, the CDC recommends talking with your doctor about getting the Shingrix vaccine.

The CDCs fact sheet on shingles lists these risks and potential complications:
  • About one in three people will develop shingles at some point in their lifetime
  • More than 99% of people in the U.S. born before 1980 have had chickenpox even if you dont remember it which poses risk for shingles
  • Your risk for getting shingles and complications from it increase as you get older
  • About one in 10 people who get shingles develop ongoing nerve pain
  • Shingles may lead to other complications involving the eye, including blindness rarely, shingles may lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation, or death

Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles, but it does not prevent chickenpox.

Find Medicare Advantage Coverage For The Shingles Vaccine

Medicare & You: Vaccines

Contact a licensed insurance agent today to find out if a Medicare Advantage plan is available where you live that will cover the shingles vaccine.

Find Medicare plans that cover the shingles vaccine

Or call 1-800-557-6059TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!

1 Umansky, Diane. The New Shingles Vaccine: What You Should Know About Shingrix. . Consumer Reports. Retrieved from www.consumerreports.org/shingles-vaccine/new-shingles-vaccine-shingrix-what-you-should-know.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles Vaccination. . Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html.

About the author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with MedicareAdvantage.com. He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles hes written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christians work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

Christians passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

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How Much Does The Shingles Shot Cost

There is currently only one shingles vaccine available in the United States, sold under the brand name Shingrix. An older shingles vaccine called Zostavax was taken off the market in November 2020.

Shingrix is delivered in two shots. Without insurance, each shot retails for around $202 for a total of $404, according to GoodRX in 2021. Discounts can lower that cost by nearly $50 per shot.

Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans may cover most of the cost of the Shingrix vaccine, but you could have out-of-pocket costs for both the shot and your doctor visits.

Before getting the vaccine, check with your plans administrator to make sure your policy covers the shingles shot.

Is Shingrix Covered By Medicaid

Shingrix is a shingles vaccine often given to adults over 50 and younger adults with compromised immune systems. Medicaid likely covers Shingrix in the 38 states with expanded Medicaid coverage and the District of Columbia. You can find out if your state has expanded Medicaid on the Medicaid website. Medicaid is less likely to cover Shingrix in states without expanded coverage.

If Medicaid covers the Shingrix vaccine in your state, youâll most likely need to have it at an in-network facility. The average copayment for covered beneficiaries is less than $5 per shot.

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How Does Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine

Does Medicare Pay For Shingles Shots?

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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Go Through A State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program

Medicare Part D plans have a yearly deductible. After you reach your Medicare Part D plans deductible, you will still be required to pay a copayment or coinsurance for your shingles vaccine. However, if you go through a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program , you may be able to get help with these costs.

Is The Shingles Shot Covered By Medicare

Original Medicare does not pay for the shingles vaccine. However, if youre enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan or have a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage, your shot may be covered. For vaccines covered under Part D , it is not recommended to get the shot through your providers office, as you may have issues with Part D billing.*

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Does Medicare Cover Pneumonia Shots

Medicare Part B typically covers pneumonia shots, which help prevent certain types of pneumonia.

Medicare Advantage plans also cover pneumonia shots. Many Medicare Advantage plans also cover prescription drugs and other benefits that Medicare Part A and Part B don’t cover.

Medicare typically covers 100 percent of the Medicare-approved amount of your pneumococcal vaccine .

Before getting your pneumonia shot, verify with your doctor that it is 100 percent covered by Medicare.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends PPSV23 pneumococcal vaccinations for all adults who are 65 years of age or older.

There are currently two pneumococcal vaccines that have been approved for use for the prevention of pneumonia. Both vaccines are covered under Medicare Part B however, the order in which you receive them matters. Talk to your health care provider to learn more.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Shingrix

New vaccine now available to treat shingles

Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects might affect your ability to do normal daily activities for 2 to 3 days.

Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. Some people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.

You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses. If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Guillain-Barré syndrome , a serious nervous system disorder, has been reported very rarely after Shingrix. There is also a very small increased risk of GBS after having shingles.

If you experience side effects from Shingrix, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS websiteexternal icon, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

If you have any questions about side effects from Shingrix, talk with your doctor.

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Where To Get Vaccinated

You have a choice on where to get vaccinated.

In your doctors office: You can get vaccinated in your doctors office. If the office is set up to bill Part D directly for your vaccination, you may only have to pay a copay at the time of your shingles shot. If not, you may have to pay all costs upfront and submit a claim to your Part D plan for reimbursement.

At your local pharmacy: You can go to your local pharmacy to get your shingles shot as long as they offer the vaccine and appropriately trained staff members administer it. The rules for pharmacy vaccination vary by state. You will likely need to pay for the vaccination upfront. Pharmacies are not legally required to dispense medications without payment.

Does Medicare Cover The Hepatitis B Vaccine

Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans will cover injection of the Hepatitis B vaccine if you are considered at medium or high risk for Hepatitis B.

You may have an increased risk if:

  • You have hemophilia
  • You live with another person who has Hepatitis B
  • You work in health care and have frequent contact with blood and other bodily fluids

Your doctor can help you determine if youre at increased risk for contracting Hepatitis B.

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How Can You Save On The Cost Of The Shingles Vaccine

These five tips can help you pay less for a shingles vaccine.

  • Visit an in-network pharmacy with a prescription: If you have a prescription drug plan, you could pay less for your vaccine by having it administered at an in-network pharmacy. Getting the shot at a doctor’s office may lead to an additional doctor’s fee for administering the vaccine.
  • Sign up for Medicare Part D or improve your drug coverage: During open enrollment, you can select a prescription drug plan that covers Tier 3 drugs, including Shingrix. Remember to consider the total policy costs for all of your prescriptions. Also, if you receive a low-income subsidy, Medicare Part D plans could be available for free.
  • Get a discount coupon for the shingles vaccine: Pharmaceutical retailers and networks may offer vaccine discounts. Usually, you’ll present the coupon or the drug discount card at the pharmacy to get the savings.
  • Use a state pharmaceutical assistance program: A state program may be available to help you reduce the cost of prescription drugs including the shingles vaccine.
  • Get assistance from the vaccine maker: GlaxoSmithKline offers the GSK Patient Assistance Program for those who meet certain criteria. You may qualify if you earn less than $32,200 annually.
  • Shingles Vaccinations Not Covered For Some Medicare Beneficiaries

    Do Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine?

    Many readers have contacted me about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. Here are answers to some of their questions.

    Q. I have Medicare and a Plan F Medigap plan, so I should be covered for all medical needs. But in order to get the shingles vaccination, it will cost me $185. I cant pay this without using my grocery or prescription money. Its totally unfair. What can I do?

    A. Shingles is a painful rash caused by a virus that can lead to long-term nerve damage called postherpetic neuralgia. All Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover the shingles vaccine, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people age 60 and older. But Medigap plans, which may cover the deductible and coinsurance amounts for services provided under Medicare Parts A and B , dont offer any financial help on the co-payments for vaccines and other drugs covered under Part D.

    A Government Accountability Office report published in December found that seniors faced many obstacles to getting needed vaccines, including the shingles vaccine. Many physicians dont recommend or even stock the shingles vaccine, the report found. The amount that the patient pays out of pocket for that vaccine could also be a barrier, according to the report.

    First, if you have Part D coverage, contact your plan to make sure the co-payment youre being quoted is accurate.

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