Yes, Medicare does cover the shingles vaccine, and it's a good thing, too, because an estimated 1 million people in the United States get shingles each year. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 1 out of 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime.
To get coverage for the shingles shot, you need to have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. You can enroll in a stand-alone Part D drug plan if you have Original Medicare Part A or Part B. If you have both Part A and Part B, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage.
Shingles mainly affect older adults who had chickenpox when they were younger. If you are a senior age 65 or older, you may have an increased risk of developing shingles. The painful, blistering rash can cover many areas of your body, including the waist, chest, stomach, buttocks, neck, or face.
People usually recover from shingles within a few weeks. However, in rare cases, shingles can have severe complications, including death. In other cases, people experience Postherpetic Neuralgia and continue to have pain in the area where the rash had been for months or years after the skin has healed.
The shingles vaccination may helps reduce the risk of contracting shingles and can lessen the length and severity of illness. You can get the Zostavax shot (zoster vaccine live) or Shingrix shots (zoster vaccine recombinant). A study showed the new Shingrix vaccine is more effective in subjects ages 50 and older.
How Much Does Shingles Vaccine Cost Under Medicare?
Before a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan pays anything, you may need to pay the annual deductible. Typically, the shingles vaccine is a tier 3 drug with a higher deductible. Deductibles vary between Medicare drug plans. However, the maximum deductible you pay in 2023 is $505. (Medicare.gov )
Your shingles vaccine costs maybe $150 to $200 before you meet your plan’s deductible. After you pay your plan’s deductible, it may cost $20 to $50. Your shingle’s vaccine cost will vary by Medicare plan and the type of shingles vaccine.
Common Questions about Shingles Vaccine