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Does Medicare cover the shingles vaccine?

Shingles is a viral infection that affects your nerves and the skin around them, resulting in pain and blisters. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in every 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime. The good news is that there is a vaccine that offers significant protection from severe cases of shingles. If you’re concerned about getting shingles, you may be wondering whether your Medicare plan covers the vaccine.

The shingles vaccine is covered by certain Medicare plans, specifically Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans with Medicare Part D prescription coverage. And, as of January 2023, people with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage don’t pay any out-of-pocket costs for the shingles vaccine1. However, the vaccine is not covered under Original Medicare (Parts A and B). In this article, we’ll help you understand what causes shingles, who is most at risk and the steps you can take to protect yourself from contracting it. 

What is shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you had chickenpox as a child, it can reactivate later in life as shingles. The most common symptoms of shingles include:

  • Pain, burning or tingling
  • Rash or blisters
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Fatigue

Shingles most commonly occurs in people 50 years or older or those with weakened immune systems. While shingles isn’t life-threatening, it can be very painful and pain can linger long after other symptoms have resolved. Thankfully, the shingles vaccine can help lower your risk of getting shingles. Early treatment can also reduce the severity of the virus and lessen the chance of long-term symptoms. 

Where do you get the shingles shot?

You can get the shingles vaccine from most healthcare providers or pharmacies. The vaccine is administered in two doses given 2-6 months apart. If you want to get vaccinated for shingles, talk to your doctor or pharmacy to make sure they carry the vaccine.

How do you protect yourself from shingles?

The best way to prevent shingles is to get the shingles vaccine. Even if you’ve already had shingles, you can still get it again, so you should talk to your doctor to make sure you’re staying up-to-date with vaccine guidance. The shingles vaccine is recommended for all adults 50 or over, regardless of whether or not they’ve already had shingles or received the chickenpox vaccine.

Have questions about whether vaccines are covered by Medicare? Let SelectQuote help.

Getting the shingles vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from contracting it. At SelectQuote, our experienced licensed insurance agents can help answer any questions you have about your Medicare plan and shingles vaccine coverage. We use our over 35 years of expertise to provide you with personalized guidance about your Medicare coverage, so you can take the steps you need to stay healthy.

1. https://www.cms.gov/files/document/10522-external-faqs-about-inflation-reduction-act.pdf

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