Thinking About Getting A Shingles Vaccination – Don’t Do it Now

If you are on Medicare and are considering getting a shingles vaccination before the year ends, read this first.

Definitely get the vaccine if your doctor recommends it. But what you may not know: the shingles vaccine is not currently covered by Original Medicare (Medicare Part A or B).

For some people, Medicare B may cover the visit to the doctor to get a prescription for the shingles vaccine—but don’t count on it.

In response, many physicians are telling patients to go to pharmacies for the shingles vaccine, since the cost and co-pays are lower than what the physician charges.

And wait, there’s more: Medigap plans don’t cover the shingles vaccine because they don’t include prescription drug coverage.

The shingles vaccine is given in two doses. The cost of each dose can range from $50 to more as much as $160. If your drug plan doesn’t cover the vaccination, this cost adds up fast.

But there’s good news: Beginning January 1, 2023, all vaccines will be free under Medicare— including shingles vaccines. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, people with Medicare drug coverage will pay nothing out-of-pocket for adult vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) — including the shingles vaccine and Tetanus-Diphtheria-Whooping Cough vaccine.

Can you wait until January? That’s a question to ask your doctor. But you should know what your costs will be in advance.