How Can You Save On The Cost Of The Shingles Vaccine
These five tips can help you to pay less for a shingles vaccine.
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.
Does Medicare Cover Shingles Vaccine
The shingles vaccine is covered by Medicare if you have prescription drug coverage via a Medicare Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan.
The shingles vaccine is not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B , as these plans cover treatment in medical facilities and outpatient treatment.
This is despite the fact that Medicare Part B covers some common vaccines like those for the flu, hepatitis B, and pneumonia.
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.
Free Shingles Vaccine For Seniors
If you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, call your local Medicaid office about coverage for the shingles vaccine, which may be free or offered at a low cost. Rules are different in every state. If you are enrolled in the Social Security Administrations Extra Help program, your cost will be minimal. The same is true if you have a Medicare Advantage SNP-D plan for dual-eligible people.Medicaid.gov, Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment, Accessed November 18, 2021
What Kinds Of Vaccines Does Cvs Offer
CVS Pharmacy offers a full list of vaccines. Among the most commonly requested ones are:
Influenza : The flu vaccine is offered on a seasonal basis. Two different kinds are available. Four-strain flu vaccine protects against four strains of the virus for children and adults. The high-dose or senior-dose flu vaccine is for people age 65 and older.
Shingles: The shingles vaccine is recommended for people age 50 and older. It is given in two doses spaced 2 to 6 months apart.
COVID-19: The long-awaited coronavirus vaccine is finally available to all adults age 16 and older starting April 19 and earlier in many places. A vaccine for younger teens and children is expected later this year.
Tdap: The CDC recommends the combination tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine for adolescents and adults every 10 years to protect against all three infections.
Each state has its own age requirements and other vaccine restrictions, so be sure to check your local stores rules before heading to CVS.
Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine
Shingles is common among those over 50. The CDC recommends that healthy adults over this age get the vaccine.
The recommendation to get the vaccine includes people who:
Have already had shingles.
Have already had Zostavaxa previously recommended version of the shingles vaccine.
Arent sure whether or not they had chickenpox.
The CDC recommends that some groups of people should avoid the vaccine.
This includes those who:
Have had a severe allergic reaction to components of the vaccine.
Test negative for immunity to the varicella-zoster virus.
Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Have a moderate to severe acute illnessincluding anyone with a temperature of 101.3°F or higher.
Check with your doctor to see whether it is appropriate to get the vaccine.
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Can You Get Shingles More Than Once
Most people only suffer from shingles once. But it is possible to get it multiple times. A study that tracked 1,700 shingles patients between 1996 and 2001 found that around 5% of people contracted the disease again within seven years.
The CDC says that getting the shingles vaccine can prevent the disease from recurring. You can get the vaccine once the shingles rash has disappeared.
Cdc Shingles Vaccine Recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Shingrix vaccination for anyone 50 years and older, even if you have already had shingles, if you had another type of shingles vaccine, and if you dont know whether or not youve had chickenpox in the past.
You should not get the vaccine if you are allergic to any of the components, are pregnant or breastfeeding, currently have shingles, or you have lab tests that definitively show that you do not have antibodies against the varicella-zoster virus. In that case, you may be better off getting the varicella vaccine instead.
Prescription Drug Coverage And Shingles Treatment
Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs such as famciclovir, valacyclovir, and acyclovir. These drugs can help the rash heal more quickly and reduce the chance youll suffer serious side effects. If your pain is severe, your doctor may also write you a prescription for pain medications.
Medicare prescription plans typically cover both antiviral and pain medications, though the specifics will depend on your plan. You may have to pay a deductible or copay.
Your doctor may also suggest over-the-counter remedies such as lidocaine patches and Tylenol. Prescription plans dont cover over-the-counter medications, even if your doctor recommends them.
Does Medicare Pay For The Shingles Shot
If you have Medicare with a separate Part D plan, your prescription coverage will include shingles shots. Several companies sell prescription plans, and each has its own deductibles, copays, and network of preferred pharmacies.
- If you get your shot at a preferred pharmacy, your pharmacy will bill Medicare, and youll pay any deductibles or copays.
- At a pharmacy outside your plans preferred network, youll pay more.
- If you get a shot at your doctors office, your doctor may be able to work with a pharmacy to bill Medicare directly. Or you may have to pay up-front and ask Medicare to reimburse you. Be aware that your doctors fee for administering the vaccine may be more than your prescription plan will pay.
Often the most cost-effective way to get a shingles vaccine is to get a prescription from your doctor and then go to a pharmacy in your plans network to get your shot.
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What Shingles Vaccines Are Available
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there are 2 vaccines licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S.: Shingrix and Zostavax.2 The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get 2 doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease.3
Which Vaccines Does Medicare Cover
Medicare covers a variety of vaccines. While Medicare Part B is generally known to cover most vaccines, Part D typically covers any vaccines that a Part B plan doesnt. Heres a table to help clarify which vaccines are covered by each plan:
|Medicare Part B|
|Vaccines related to treating an injury or exposure to a disease||All other commercially available vaccines not covered by Medicare Part B|
To learn whether or not your Medicare plan covers the vaccine you need, you should check your plans formulary. A formulary is a list of all the prescription drugs that your plan covers and how much they might cost you. Call your insurance company or insurance agency to learn more about your particular plans formulary.
Is The Shingles Shot Free For Seniors
The shingles vaccine is not free for all seniors, and how much you pay will depend on your Medicare Part D plan or with 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.
Does Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine
All Medicare prescription drug plans offer some level of coverage for the shingles vaccine. You will find this coverage under your Medicare Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.
The amount you pay will vary based on your policy details and your deductible amount. For some enrollees, the shingles vaccine could be free, but others may pay full price if a deductible must be met before the cost-sharing benefits begin.
The shingles vaccine is not covered by Original Medicare . However, Medicare Part B may cover a doctor’s visit to get a prescription for the shingles vaccine.
Most Medigap plans, also called Medicare supplement plans, don’t cover the shingles vaccine because they don’t include prescription drug coverage.
|May cover the doctor’s visit to get a prescription for the vaccine|
|Part C||Yes, because most of these bundled plans include drug coverage.|
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Medicare May Not Provide Good Coverage For This Vital Protection
If you’re covered by Medicare, you may feel the pain of a shingles shot more in your wallet than in your arm.
That’s because the federal program that insures most seniors in the U.S. provides poor coverage for some recommended vaccines, including shingles, and could leave some people paying $200 or more for protection.
Shingles is a viral infection that often causes a painful, blistering rash and, in some cases, leads to lingering nerve pain and, in rare cases, even blindness.
The vaccine isn’t foolproof, but for people aged 60 and older it reduces the risk of getting shingles by about 51 percent and, if you do get shingles, reduces the nerve pain it causes by close to 70 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccine Effectiveness And Safety
The vaccine reduces your chance of getting the virus by more than 50%, depending on your age. Vaccine effectiveness is higher among seniors between 65 and 70 years old.
No vaccine is 100% effective. If you get vaccinated, you may still develop shingles. But the infection would likely be less severe and youd be better protected from complications.
The vaccine has been licenced by Health Canada, having met all requirements under the Food and Drugs Act.
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How Does Medicare Part D Cover The Shingles Vaccine
Medicare Part D can cover vaccines and prescription drugs. Your vaccine and its cost are on a list in your plans drug formulary, alongside other prescription drug costs. Your vaccine cost counts toward your deductible like other Part D services. You may have to pay the full price for your shingles vaccine if you have not met your annual deductible.
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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Does Medicare Cover Shingles Shots For Seniors
No traditional Medicare parts A and B do not cover the shingles shots for seniors. The shingles shot is covered at least partially with Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D.
This is a sad reality for those over age 65 with Medicare who should have access to the vaccine for no additional cost. Medicare Part D comes at an extra cost if purchased separately, but is offered in most of the Medicare Advantage plans.
Some Vaccines Covered Better Than Others
Unlike the flu and pneumonia vaccines, which are fully covered as preventive services under Medicare Part B, the shingles shot and other recommended vaccinations are covered as prescription drugs under Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.
Some of those plans provide better coverage than others, but nearly all of them divide their formularies, or list of covered drugs, into tiers according to cost. Drugs in Tier 1 and 2, mainly lower-priced generics and preferred brand-name drugs, have lower co-pays than more expensive nonpreferred brands in Tier 3 or 4.
Consumer Reports found that many Part D plans categorize the shingles vaccine, Zostavax, as an expensive Tier 3 or 4 drug. Only one pharmaceutical companyMerckmakes 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 shot, which is about $217. But depending on your plan, even after the deductible is met, consumers may have to pay a significant part of the shingles vaccine costup to $100.
Many healthcare providers havent set up billing systems to file claims through prescription drug plans. So if you’re vaccinated at your doctors office, you might be required to pay the full shingles vaccine cost up front and then file to be reimbursed by your insurance.
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What Kind Of Insurance Does Cvs Accept For Vaccines
CVS accepts more than 5,000 health insurance plans for vaccinations. Many routine vaccinations are considered preventive care under the Affordable Care Act and must be covered with no charge to you for visits to an in-network provider.
As a result, people with private insurance often find they have zero copays for routine vaccinations at retail pharmacies. But youll want to check with your plan or ask the pharmacist to run your insurance card before you receive the vaccine to be sure.
What Should I Do If I Have Shingles
If you think you may have shingles, see a doctor as soon as possible and get a professional diagnosis. While some cases are mild and may clear up on their own without treatment, other cases can cause severe pain and require medication to manage.
Its also important to take steps to avoid spreading the virus. The Centers for Disease Control recommends keeping the rash covered and washing your hands often. Avoid touching the rash as much as possible and avoid contact with people who may be at risk, including:
- Premature infants
- Pregnant women who have not had chickenpox or been vaccinated for it
- People with HIV or weakened immune systems due to cancer treatment, organ transplant, or immunosuppressive drugs
Your doctor may recommend antiviral drugs, or simply treating the rash with over-the-counter medication such as calamine lotion to soothe the pain of the blisters. Treatment can reduce the pain and duration of the symptoms, but doesnt cure the disease altogether.
For many seniors, the most painful part of shingles isnt the rash, but post-herpetic neuralgia, which can last a year or more in some cases. Although not everyone who gets shingles will experience post-herpetic neuralgia, it can have a big impact on those that do. Some people develop chronic pain that lasts for years and affects their quality of life.
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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.