Friday, April 12, 2024

Why Is The Shingles Vaccine Not Covered By Medicare

Vaccines Covered By Medicare Part D

What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Medicare Part D covers all commercially available vaccines needed to prevent illness. You can get Part D coverage through a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage.

Vaccines covered by Part D include the following:

  • Shingles vaccine: One-time vaccine given in two shots over two to six months
  • Tdap vaccine : One shot if youve never been vaccinated, and a booster every ten years
  • Other vaccines covered: Vaccines that are “reasonable and necessary” to prevent illness and are not covered by Part B

Part D may also cover vaccines you may need if you are traveling internationally. Talk with your doctor about your travel plans and ask what vaccines are recommended.

Get Immunized Before Having A Baby

Be sure you and everyone in your household are up to date on your immunizations if you are thinking about having a baby. This can protect your developing baby from serious infections. Recommended vaccines also help protect babies after birth and early infancy, when they are most vulnerable.

Starting April 1, 2022, pregnant individuals are eligible to get a free pertussis vaccine in every pregnancy to help protect the baby after birth. The pertussis vaccine is given as part of the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccine.

Why Doesnt Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine As Free For All Seniors

Many people think that a vaccine thats 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 isnt a generic alternative. This could mean that your out-of-pocket costs are higher than for other medications.

Don’t Miss: Does Cvs Offer Shingles Shots

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.

Reasons To Get The Shingles Vaccine

Why did I pay $200 for a shingle vaccine?

Once a person develops chickenpox after contracting the varicella-zoster virus, the virus never leaves the body. It remains dormant in the nerve roots and can reappear as shingles later in life.

The primary symptom of shingles is a painful rash on one side of the body, most often on the torso or face. People initially have pain or a burning sensation on the skin without a rash, and then painful blisters develop. The rash lasts approximately seven to 10 days and fully clears within two to four weeks.

The likelihood of developing shingles increases dramatically after age 50. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults age 50 and over receive two doses of Shingrix to prevent shingles. The vaccine is recommended even if a person is unsure if they have ever had chickenpox.

People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for shingles. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration also recently approved Shingrix vaccination for adults age 18 and older who are at risk for shingles due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by an underlying disease or medication.

Also Check: Can A Person Get Shingles Twice

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.

Shingrix is a brand-name shingles vaccine and is currently the only shingles vaccine available in the United States. Zostavax, a previous zoster vaccine, wasdiscontinued in 2020.

RELATED: Get Shingrix coupons | What is Shingrix?

Medicare Advantage Plans May Cover More Vaccines Than Original Medicare

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies as an alternative to Original Medicare.

Every Medicare Advantage plan must provide the same hospital and medical benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B, and most plans include Medicare prescription drug coverage.

MAPDs must help cover a number of commercially available vaccines that arent covered by Original Medicare when reasonably and medically necessary to prevent illness. However, specific rules of administration and costs will vary depending on the Medicare Advantage plan you enroll in.

A licensed insurance agent can help you compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area, including what vaccinations may be covered.

Find Medicare plans that cover your vaccinations

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

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.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelors degree in journalism.

Don’t Miss: What To Avoid When You Have Shingles

What Vaccines Are Covered By Medicare

The following chart shows how some common vaccines are covered by Medicare.

Vaccine
Coronavirus 2019 – Part B You pay nothing for the vaccine, whether you receive 2 shots or only a single dose.
Influenza -Part B You pay nothing for 1 flu shot per flu season if your doctor accepts Medicare assignment.
Pneumococcal -Part B You pay nothing for 2 shots if your doctor accepts Medicare assignment.
Hepatitis B -Part B You pay nothing if youre at medium or high risk for Hepatitis B and your doctor accepts Medicare assignment.
-Medicare Advantage plans with drug coverage-Part D Coverage rules and costs vary by plan.
Tetanus -Medicare Advantage plans with drug coverage-Part D Coverage rules and costs vary by plan.

These are only a few of the most commonly recommended vaccines. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have questions about a specific immunization or vaccine that is not listed here.

Medicare Part B also typically covers vaccines after youve potentially been exposed to a dangerous disease or virus. For example, your rabies shot may be covered by Medicare Part B if you are bitten by a dog.

How Long After Ive Received The Shingles Vaccine Am I Contagious

Shingles Vaccine Update

With the currently authorized shingles vaccine, Shingrix, you wont be contagious. The old vaccine, Zostavax, used a weakened form of the live varicella-zoster virus. Therefore, people worried about spreading the disease to the people around them.

Shingrix doesnt use a live version of the varicella-zoster virus. It is inactivated, which means it uses a dead version of the virus. Therefore, you have no risk of transmitting the disease to anyone.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

No one likes to get shots, especially for something youve already been vaccinated for. But the newer version of the shingles vaccine is one youll want to offer up your arm for. The Shingrix vaccine is more than 90% effective at helping you prevent shingles. Since most of us have had chickenpox in the past, the shingles vaccine is an easy way to prevent the dormant chickenpox virus from creeping up and hitting you again with shingles.

Read Also: Can Shingles Break Out On Your Legs

Also Check: Topical Cream For Shingles Over The Counter

Shingles Vaccine And Insurance

Private health insurance plans often cover vaccination costs. Still, a patient might have a charge depending on the specific insurance plan.

Medicaid may or may not cover the vaccine cost.Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine, but there may be a cost to the patient depending on the plan. Usually, the fees are less than $50 per dose.

Medicare Part B does not cover the shingles vaccine.

Recommended Reading: What Does Shingles Look Like On Your Face

Do I Need A Prescription For A Shingles Vaccine

Once you have a Medicare insurance plan that covers the shingles vaccine, youll need to find out whether a prescription is necessary. This is dependent on where you get vaccinated. You wont need a prescription if you get vaccinated at your doctors office.

Some pharmacies that provide vaccines do so under the standing order of a supervising physician. This is convenient for patients because it saves them a trip to the doctors office to acquire a prescription before receiving the vaccine. You may need to call your pharmacy to see how they handle shingles vaccine orders.

If your pharmacy requires a prescription, youll need to contact your medical provider first. They may want to see you in the office beforehand, but not always. Sometimes, the doctor may give you the shingles vaccine at your appointment.

Once you have the prescription in your possession, the remaining steps are pretty straightforward. Take the prescription to a pharmacy in your plans network to be filled. A pharmacist will administer the vaccine in their clinic area.

Its possible to save money on shingles vaccines with a SingleCare pharmacy savings card. SingleCare coupons can help uninsured or underinsured patients get shingles vaccines at a discounted price.

RELATED: Find a pharmacy near you

Also Check: Why Do We Get Shingles

What Happens When You Get The Vaccine

As mentioned above, there is one option for the shingles vaccine: Shingrix.

Shingrix, which contains no live virus, is a two-dose vaccine series given in the muscle of the upper arm. The second shot is given two to six months after the first. In clinical trials, it was effective in nearly 97% of adults in their 50s over 97% effective for people in their 60s and over 91% effective for those aged 70 and above. It remains at near 85% effectiveness in all four years following vaccination.18

Shingrix is recommended if youre age 50 or older and have no severe immune problems.19

Effectiveness does come with a cost: In studies, seven in 10 people experienced pain from the Shingrix vaccine, and nearly half have muscle pain or fatigue and some had headaches, shivering, fever and nausea.20 21The CDC suggests avoiding strenuous activities for two to three days after getting either Shingrix shot.

If have previously received Zostavax, you can consider getting Shingrix. The CDC says Shingrix was safe and immunogenic when given five years or later after Zostavax. The agency adds there is no data or theoretical concerns that Shingrix would be any less effective if given sooner. 21

Zostavax was discontinued in 2020 by Merck and is no longer available in the United States.

Medicare Part D Coverage

Original Medicare doesnt cover most prescription drugs, but you do have the option of purchasing a Part D plan. These plans are sold by private insurers and offer coverage for a range of prescription drugs.

While there is some variation in Part D plans since they are provided by different private companies, they typically must include coverage for Shingrix.

Also Check: Does Shingles Always Have A Rash Or Blisters

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 Shingrix

You should not get Shingrix if you:

  • Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
  • Currently have shingles.
  • Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.

If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.

Don’t Miss: What Are The Different Grades Of Shingles

Can The Shingles Vaccine Cause A Genital Herpes Outbreak

Question posted by artsyrsc on 13 Nov 2014

Last updated on 22 August 2022 by ResaW

I got my vaccine on a Friday, felt headachy and rundown all weekend. By Tuesday I was getting an outbreak. I hadnt had one in a pretty long time and I take acyclovir when I do. Coincidence or a side effect of the vaccine?

ResaW

I have had oral Herpes for ages, but I was fastidious about not infecting my genitals and for decades thought I had succeeded.

After the 2nd shot of Shingrix I developed genital herpes :-/

These outbreaks are more common than they ever were on my mouth and Im sad.

Not saying correlation means causation by any means, but I thought I should add this bit of anecdotal evidence for this question.

+0Snowy-8Sugar13

I am 50, diagnosed with HSV2 thru blood work a few years ago, but never had an outbreak before. I got 2nd Shingrix a couple of weeks ago. Arm pain and body aches with fatigue for a couple of daysthen a genital outbreak. I had no clue what it was since Ive never had an outbreak before. Luckily it was small and minimal pain. Coincidence? I didnt think so until I read here.

+1jaxonp+1Em6638

Something happened to me a herpes outbreak after the Shingles Vaccine. I Had not had outbreak in 15 yrs.

+1Salsify+0SEM42SalsifySEM42

for anyone reading this: if you get a strong vaccine , TAKE VALACYCLOVIR AT THE TIME YOU GET THE VACCINE, A HIGH DOSE LIKE 2 GM. and keep taking it for about 2 days. this should help block any reactivation. I wish I had known.

+1+1

Vaccines Covered By Medicare Part B

Shingles: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment with Dr. Mark Shalauta | San Diego Health

Medicare Part B covers three important vaccines as part of its preventive care benefits.

Covered vaccines include the following:

  • Flu vaccine: Annual vaccine given in one shot before or during flu season, usually November through April
  • Pneumonia vaccine: One-time vaccine given in two shots at least one year apart
  • Hepatitis B vaccine: One-time vaccine given in two to four shots over one to six months for people who are medium to high risk, including people with diabetes

Part B also covers vaccines you may need if youre exposed to a harmful virus or bacteria by accident. You might need a tetanus shot, for example, if you step on a rusty nail. Or you may need rabies shots if youre bitten by a stray dog.

Recommended Reading: What Is Shingles Is It Contagious

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.

Why Do You Need Shingles Shot

For older Americans, the shingles vaccine is an important way to protect against the herpes zoster virus. The virus can cause a painful rash and blisters. It can also lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, brain damage, and even death.

It is recommended that adults over the age of 60 get the vaccine. If you are over the age of 60, talk to your doctor about whether the shingles vaccine is right for you and let an insurance broker find the best Medicare shingles vaccine plan.

Recommended Reading: Does Walmart Have The Shingles Vaccine

Popular Articles
Related news