If you are at medium or high risk for Hepatitis B, Medicare Part B does pay for your Hepatitis B vaccine. Please check with your doctor to see if you are at high or medium risk for Hepatitis B. Therefore, if you are at risk, you pay nothing for Hepatitis B shots.
What is Hepatitis B?
In this Medicare & You Hepatitis video, Denise Sieron from CMS defines Hepatitis as follows:
Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the organ tissue.
Furthermore, Denise says, “Hepatitis may occur with few or no symptoms.” However, it “can lead to jaundice, nausea, and in some rare cases, death.” Moreover, “some forms of Hepatitis may eventually cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.”
Hepatitis B Transmission
Medicare does pay for the Hepatitis B vaccine, which prevents liver infection by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). According to the CDC, “Hepatitis is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluids from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.” So how do people transmit the HBV virus?
Hepatitis B Transmission occurs through the following methods:
- Sexual contact with an infected person
- Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
- Exposure to an infected person’s blood
You can become infected with HBV when in direct contact with the blood of an infected person. For example, unsterilized needle at a tattoo parlor, body piercing, or blood transfusion. If you become infected with Hepatitis B, you may or may not show symptoms.
Hepatitis B Symptoms
You may be infected with Hepatitis B and not show any symptoms. However, for those who do, symptoms may include the following:
- Poor appetite
- Stomach pain
Jaundice is when your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow. A build-up of bilirubin causes the yellow color of the skin and eyes.
Most adults and seniors can clear the HBV virus from their system. However, other people continue to have a life-long illness.
Acute Hepatitis B
According to the CDC, Acute Hepatitis B is a short-term illness where the Hepatitis B virus leaves the body within six months. You may have an “acute” infection for only a few weeks. Some people may have no symptoms or only mild illness. For other people, the Hepatitis virus may cause serious health problems and hospitalization.
Chronic Hepatitis B
Suppose you cannot clear the HBV virus from your system. In that case, you can have a life-long infection called chronic Hepatitis B. The CDC says, “almost all adults infected with the Hepatitis B virus recover completely and do not develop chronic infection.”
Medicare does pay for the Hepatitis B vaccine
When you are at risk for Hepatitis B, Medicare Part B pays for the Hepatitis B vaccine. Thus, it costs you nothing! If you do not have Medicare Part B, you can apply for Part B.
You may have Hepatitis B and show no symptoms. Consequently, you could unknowingly pass the HBV virus to someone through sexual contact or sharing needles. However, if you show Hepatitis B symptoms, your skin and the whites of your eyes may turn yellow. Almost all infected seniors recover entirely and do not develop chronic infection.
Other Medicare Vaccine Coverage
In addition to the Hepatitis B vaccine, Medicare does pay for other vaccine coverage. For example, Medicare Part B provides seniors with Flu Shot and Pneumococcal vaccines. Furthermore, Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage pays for the Shingles vaccine.