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What Vaccines Does Medicare Part B & Part D Cover


Medicare Part D and Part B both cover the cost of vaccines. The plan providing coverage depends on the type of immunization. As we age, it’s most important to take care of our health. Many adults and seniors tend to put their health on the back burner. Luckily, there’s a variety of products on the market that help build the body’s immune system. Doctors may give these medications by injection or provide them to you orally. Certain vaccinations are via aerosol spray. Coverage may be available; although, benefits may vary between plans.

What Vaccines are Covered by Medicare Part D?

Part D works with Parts A & B to help cover some of the costs of drugs, including vaccinations. You may choose only to have Part A and Part B coverage. Enrolling in Part D isn’t a requirement. However, Part D plans may help lessen some of the costs of drugs.

Also, waiting to enroll can result in extra costs.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says Part D pays for vaccines that Part B doesn’t cover. Also, if a vaccine is commercially available or necessary to prevent illness – Part D benefits apply.

Each plan comes with a list of drugs and vaccines it covers. Medicare requires ALL Part D plan benefits to include the shingles vaccine (zoster).

Rules for step therapy, prior authorization, and quantity limits may vary between plans.

Our immune systems weaken as we grow older. Meaning, seniors are more susceptible to illness, disease, and infection.

Having coverage for vaccines is vital.

What Vaccines are Covered by Medicare Part B?

One-shot per year, each cold season has coverage through Part B. Meaning, immunizations like the influenza virus vaccine are part of the benefits. A seasonal H1N1 vaccine falls under the flu umbrella. H1N1 is swine flu.

Enrollees typically have a $0 out-of-pocket cost when getting the shot with in-network doctors. However, getting care from a doctor that doesn’t accept Medicare assignment could mean you’re responsible for the cost.

Part B will cover the seasonal flu shot, H1N1, and a pneumococcal vaccine. Also, when a COVID-19 vaccine is available, Part B will cover it. Now, Part D includes vaccines like Tdap and shingles.

For individuals at intermediate or high risk, Part B pays for the Hepatitis B vaccine.

If you have any of the following conditions, Medicare may consider you a high-risk candidate:

  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease)
  • Diabetes
  • Hemophilia
  • STDs

Not everyone fits neatly into these risk categories. Unfortunately, if Medicare only covers at-risk patients.

Meaning, the patient is responsible for the cost of the vaccine. Beneficiaries have alternative options for coverage under these circumstances.

For example, a Medicare Advantage plan may pay for hepatitis A or B vaccines. Generally, Part D or Advantage plans only cover vaccine costs when medically necessary.

You may have direct exposure to a disease or illness. In this case, Part B pays for essential vaccines to lower the risk of becoming ill. Additionally, Medicare covers any vaccination or shot that relates to the direct treatment of an injury.

Part B covers the yearly influenza shot as well as the high-dose flu vaccine. The high-dose flu vaccine is given to boost many senior’s immune systems.

Does Medicare Cover Flu Shots?

Part B covers one flu shot per flu season. You must have an active enrollment in Part B for it to cover the cost. Also, your doctor must accept Medicare.

Obtaining a flu shot from a doctor outside of your plan’s network may result in you paying the full cost of the doctors’ fee for administration. However, you don’t pay for the shot itself.

Advantage plans must provide coverage equivalent to that of Parts A and B.

Most Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits. So, your Advantage plan pays for one flu shot per season.

MA plans often vary in out-of-pocket expenses for enrollees. Check to see what you must pay for your plan deductible and premium.

If the Advantage plan has a deductible – it does not apply in this case.

Does Medicare Cover Shingles Shots?

Proper diagnosing and treatment for shingles must first begin with a doctors’ visit. Part B pays for 80% of the doctors’ fee-for-service. Although, you must first have met your annual deductible amount.

Most Supplement plans cover your medical bills and filling in your gaps. But, once your doctor diagnoses you with the Shingles, medication, and vaccines are essential for treatment.

Does Medicare Cover Tetanus Shots?

Coverage includes shots of severe diseases such as tetanus, pertussis, and diphtheria. Without treatment, these diseases can become deadly. In some cases, even with the best treatment and medical attention – it can kill those with the infection.

Before the development of vaccines, hundreds of tetanus cases were found each year in the United States. Now, we have vaccines to protect us from such diseases.

99% fewer examples of Diptheria are found each year due to the shot.

Lockjaw is a common nickname for this disease. Symptoms include a painful, widespread stiffness and tightening of the muscles.

When the head and neck muscles begin to stiffen and tighten, the ability to open your mouth becomes difficult. Likewise, it becomes challenging to swallow or even breathe.

Unlike the others, tetanus infections happen by bacteria entering the body through open scratches, wounds, or cuts. Part B coverage pays for tetanus shots when given as treatment for an injury or illness.

Part D covers vaccines given to prevent illness. Check with your plan for availability in your service area.

Part D plans are not all the same; benefits may vary among insurance carriers. Finding a Top Part D plan is easy when you give us a call at the number above.

FAQs

Does Medicare cover Tdap vaccine?
The Tdap vaccination is for children between the ages of 11 and 12, in a single dose. It can protect young adults and seniors from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).

Getting the vaccine as soon as possible is a recommendation for anyone who did NOT receive the Tdap vaccine.

Medicare covers Tdap vaccines. For seniors with Part D coverage – the vaccine is part of your plan benefits.

All healthcare professionals need to get Tdap while working in the field. Similarly, individuals handling a baby under 12 months should have the vaccine.

Babies have the highest risk for complications from pertussis disease. Often, complications are life-threatening.

During any pregnancy, the mother should get a dose of Tdap. A mother getting the Tdap vaccine is for the newborn’s protection from whooping cough.

Your doctor can give more information or answer questions before administering the vaccine.

Does Medicare Part D cover Hepatitis A vaccine?
Hepatitis kills roughly 1.4 million people every year; causing inflammation of the liver, hepatitis A can cause severe and chronic liver damage.

Part D covers the Hepatitis A Vaccine when medically essential. The most common strains of this viral infection are hepatitis A, B, and C.

Medicare pays for a one-time screening test for the Hepatitis C strain. However, your doctor must order the screening, and you must meet certain conditions.

For coverage to apply, you must be at high-risk due history of IV drug use.

Otherwise, if you had any blood transfusions before 1992 or if you were born between 1945 – 1965, you may qualify for Part D coverage.

Part D plans cover these vaccine costs. Beneficiaries without Part D may have to come out-of-pocket for treatment.

Does Medicare cover the Pneumonia vaccine?
Part B covers two different pneumococcal shots if the second shot happens at least one year after the first. You don’t pay out of pocket for the vaccine if our doctor accepts Medicare assignment.

Each shot protects from a different strain of bacteria. Discuss the need for one or both with your doctor.

How to Find a Medicare Plan to Cover Your Vaccines

We use a tool called the Part D plan finder to help determine all available plans in your area. Then, we compare rates and benefits for you.

Call us to get information on all the top carriers in the nation! Our agents are Medicare experts, ready to answer all your questions and walk you through the application.

Give us a call today at the number above and let us do the leg work. Or fill out a form online and get the process going today!

Lindsay Engle

Lindsay Engle is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

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