Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Why Is Shingles Vaccine So Expensive

What Are The Advantages Of Getting The Shingles Vaccine

What Are Side Effects of the Shingles Vaccine? A Doctor Explains

The shingles vaccine reduces your risk of getting shingles. Shingles causes a painful rash that usually develops on one side of your body or face. Some people describe the pain as an intense burning or shooting sensation. The rash is often a single strip that wraps around one side of your body or is on one side of your face. It consists of blisters that normally crust over in seven to 10 days. The rash generally clears up within a month.

Some people with shingles also experience additional symptoms including fever, headache, chills or upset stomach.

For some people, the pain from the rash can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-term pain is called postherpetic neuralgia , and it is the most common complication of shingles.

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

Heres An Example Of The Price For One Shot Of Shingrix

NOTE: This is just an example for illustrative purposes. Your plan may have different pricing.

The FULL column represents the full gross cost of the vaccine. Thats a reference point.

The DED column represents the deductible phase, which is the price you would pay if you have NOT met your plans prescription drug deductible. Many Medicare drug plans have a deductible to meet on Tiers 3 and above. This is where most people run into problems. They purchase Shingrix while in their deductible, so they have to pay the full cost of the vaccine. But what if your plan doesnt have a deductible…or if you have met the deductible prior to purchasing Shingrix? That takes us to the next phase of Part D.

The INT column represents the initial coverage phase. This is where your drug plan is now helping. As you can see in this particular example, the drug plan requires only a $42 copay for a Tier 3 drug. So that really reduces your cost for the vaccine! Then the other two columns represent the price in the GAP/Donut Hole phase and CAT/Catastrophic phase, if you reach those levels.

As you can see, the price you pay is entirely based on the phase youre in at the time of purchase.

If you need a refresher on the 4 phases of Part D, reference our blog or watch our updated 2022 video here:

Reference Links

Recommended Reading: How Long Does The Nerve Pain Last From Shingles

Will There Be Any Side Effects From The Shingles Vaccination

There are 2 shingles vaccines: Zostavax and Shingrix .

With both vaccines it’s quite common to get redness and discomfort at the vaccination site, headaches and fatigue, but these side effects should not last more than a few days. See a GP if you have side effects that last longer than a few days, or if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.

Read more about the shingles vaccine side effects.

Does Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine Will I Have To Pay For The Shot

Cost of shingles vaccine at costco

The CDC recommends people 50 years and older get the shingles vaccine. The shot is widely available and the cost may be covered if you have Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D. Depending on your plan, you may have to cover a deductible, co-pay, or pay for the shot out of pocket and get reimbursement.

Shingles can cause serious complications, like painful long-term nerve damage. To stay safe from such complications, you may want to consider the new shingles vaccine . An older vaccine once widely administered in the U.S. was less effective and is no longer on the market.

Recommended Reading: How To Figure Shingles Needed

How To Get A Shingrix Discount Without Medicare

There are a few different ways to receive a discount on the Shingrix vaccine. SingleCares prescription discount card provides instant savings on many prescription drugs, including Shingrix. Medicare recipients cannot use SingleCare and Medicare coverage together, but they can choose to use whichever offers a better deal for them. For those who dont have a Medicare plan that covers Shingrix, SingleCare can provide a discount.

GSK, the manufacturer of Shingrix, offers apatient assistance program for those who dont have insurance coverage. However, there are income guidelines and other eligibility requirements in order to qualify. Those who are enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan may still be eligible for the program if their income falls below a certain threshold and theyve spent at least $600 on prescription medications through their plan during the current calendar year.

Lastly, you may qualify for financial assistance through a Medicare program called Extra Help. Extra Help can help Part D consumers lower their Medicare-related costs.

Who Should Not Get The Shingles Vaccine

Some people shouldnt get the shingles vaccine. These people include those:

  • Who currently have shingles.
  • Who have had a severe allergic reaction to the shingles vaccine in the past.
  • Who have tested negative for immunity to the varicella-zoster virus, meaning youve never had chickenpox. If youve never had chickenpox, you should get the chickenpox vaccine.
  • Who are ill. You should wait until your illness has passed before receiving the shingles vaccine.
  • Who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Also Check: What Is The New Shingles Shot Called

How Much Will You Pay For Shingles Vaccines

You can find the shingles vaccine on your Part D plan formulary or listing of covered medications. Check to see into which tier the vaccine falls the tier will define how much your insurer will pay and how much you will have to pay.14

If your doctors office will provide the vaccination, check to be sure they can bill your plan directly. That way, youll have only the copay. Otherwise, you may have to make the full payment upfront and file with your plan for reimbursement. Also, check to be sure that the doctors fee for administering the shot is covered as part of your plans allowable charge.13

Youll probably pay the least amount out-of-pocket by being vaccinated at a pharmacy thats within your drug plans network. But if you havent met your deductible for the year on your drug plan, you may pay full price for the vaccine.

If you havent had your shingles vaccine yet and youre selecting a Medicare Advantage plan during the Open Enrollment Period, be sure its one of the medications on whatever plan you choose.

Can You Get The Shingles Vaccine For Free

Shingles: What you need to know about causes, symptoms, and prevention.

The shingles vaccine is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, a pharmaceutical company. GSK has a patient assistance program that may provide the vaccine to you at no cost if you meet these eligibility criteria:

  • You dont have prescription drug coverage or a Part D plan and have spent at least $600 during the calendar year
  • You are an adult, age 19 or older
  • You live in the U.S., Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia
  • You dont qualify for Puerto Ricos Government Health Plan
  • Your maximum monthly gross income does not exceed certain limits, depending on where you reside and your household size
  • You apply through your health care provider, who will register for the patient assistance program and submit your application

Read Also: Can You Get Shingles On Both Sides Of Your Body

Why Does My Shingles Vaccine Cost So Much

If you’re covered by Medicare, you may feel the pain of a shingles shot more in your wallet than in your arm.

Prompted by a reader question on why she had to pay so much money for this vital vaccine, we took a closer look at how much it costs. Turns out that the federal program that insures most seniors in the U.S. provides poor coverage on some recommended vaccines. That leaves some older people paying nearly $200 for protection against shingles, a viral infection that often causes a painful, blistering rash and, in some cases, leads to lingering nerve pain and rarely even blindness.

The vaccine isn’t perfect, but for people aged 60 and older it reduces the risk of getting shingles by about 51 percent and the nasty nerve pain by close to 70 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more about the shingles vaccine and two other immunizations adults need now.

And, you guessed it, we found that many Part D plans categorize the shingles vaccine, Zostavax, as an expensive tier 3 or 4 drug. Only one company, Merck, makes the shingles shot and theres currently no generic version.

That means if you havent met your annual deductible, youll likely wind up paying full price for the shotaround $190. But even after the deductible, depending on your plan, we found that consumers may have to pay a significant part of the shingles vaccine cost, up to $100.

Other Types of Plans Do Better

Don’t Overpay: Advice for Medicare Patients

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.

Also Check: Can You Get Shingles In The Groin Area

What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication from shingles.

CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.

Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.

Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.

What Is Shingrixs Cost Without Insurance Vs The Cost With Insurance

Shingles Vaccine Cost Walmart

Your out-of-pocket cost for Shingrix will usually be higher without insurance than with insurance. Your cost will depend on what insurance you have and where you get your vaccine. If you choose to get your vaccine at a pharmacy, the pharmacist can let you know the price before you get each dose.

Shingrix only comes as a brand-name vaccine. Its not currently available in a generic version. A generic medication contains an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication but tends to cost less.

Why is there such a difference in the cost of brand-name drugs vs. generic drugs?

Years of research and testing are needed to ensure that brand-name drugs are safe and effective. This testing can make the drugs expensive. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell the drug for up to 20 years. After that, other drug manufacturers can create generic versions. This competition in the market can lead to lower costs for generics. And because generics have the same ingredients as brand-name drugs, they dont need to be studied again. This can also lead to lower generic costs.

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Pain And Complications Of Shingles In Elderly People

Older adults who develop shingles are often surprised at how painful it is. Many say that it is far more painful than the original chickenpox virus that affected them in childhood. Often the skin in the area of the rash continues to hurt even after the rash has healed.

The individual may feel stabbing or throbbing or even weakness. Doctors call this post-herpetic neuralgia, and it can sometimes last for months or even years.

There are also risks for older adults who develop shingles. The blistered area of skin can become infected, requiring antibiotics in addition to antivirals. Such infections can lead to scarring. The rash is also uncomfortable and makes it challenging to rest. When healing takes longer than usual, some individuals can feel despair or even depression. In rare cases, it can lead to encephalitis.

The virus can also be transmitted to other parts of your body, such as your eyes or lips. The herpes virus can cause outbreaks that may affect hearing and vision.

Another thing to be concerned about is contagion. While shingles itself is not contagious, the virus that causes it is. If your spouse has never had chickenpox and has not been vaccinated, he or she could develop chickenpox as an adult. Its important to keep your skin clean and dry and prevent it from rubbing against any other person who could get infected.

Can You Get Shingles After Youve Been Vaccinated

While the shingles vaccine is highly effective, some people can still get shingles. However, people who do get shingles after getting the shingles vaccine usually have milder symptoms and a shorter illness. Youll also be less likely to have complications from shingles, including postherpetic neuralgia.

Recommended Reading: How To Figure Out How Many Shingles You Need

Can It Cause Side Effects

Like every vaccine, Shingrix has the potential for side effects, although so far, none seem particularly worrisome. The new shingles vaccine does appear to be more likely to cause pain during injection and at the site of injection for up to three days afterward than Zostavax does.

In clinical trials, the side effects also included injection site redness and swelling, muscle pain, and immune system responses such as headache, shivering, fever, and upset stomach. Most, according to GlaxoSmithKline, its manufacturer, lasted less than three days.

Though Shingrix was tested on some 16,600 adults in clinical trials, its real-world use has been limited. The company will be conducting additional safety and efficacy studies over the next few years, and the CDC will be monitoring any adverse events that are reported.

As with any drug thats approved on the basis of studies in only thousands, in contrast to millions after approval, strict post-marketing surveillance studies have to be agreed upon, with severe penalties for irregularities, says CRs Lipman.

How Long Does Shingrix Last

Shingles Vaccine

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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Who Should Get Shingrix

Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. Adults 19 years and older who have or will have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix. If needed, people with weakened immune systems can get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first.

You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:

  • Received varicella vaccine

There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.

If you had shingles in the past, Shingrix can help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.

Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus . After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.

Shingrix is available in doctors offices and pharmacies.

If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.

* A shingles vaccine called zoster vaccine live is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.

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.

Also Check: Owens Corning Oakridge 30 Year Shingles

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