Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP REALPAD

Introducing RealPad by AARP

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

Get the answers you need, from Patricia Barry, AARP's Ask Ms. Medicare

Most Popular

Viewed

share your Thoughts

Reader stories help us fine-tune our education efforts and strengthen our calls for action on issues that matter most to you. We read and learn from every story and may use yours (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire other readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Ask Ms. Medicare

Coverage for the Shingles Vaccine

Q. Does Medicare cover the shingles vaccine?

A. Yes, but not in the way you might expect.

Other common vaccines are covered under Medicare Part B. In other words, you get them in a doctor’s office, then the doctor bills Medicare and—in the case of flu and pneumonia shots—Medicare picks up the full tab.

But the shingles vaccine is covered under the Part D prescription drug program. That means you must be enrolled in a private Part D plan (a stand-alone drug plan or a Medicare health plan that covers drugs), get the vaccine through your plan and pay whatever share of the cost that your plan requires.

You shouldn’t have any problem obtaining the shingles vaccine through your drug plan. Under Medicare regulations, all Part D plans must cover it.

But there are some pitfalls to watch out for in terms of paying for the shingles shot, depending on where you receive it:

* If you’re vaccinated at a pharmacy, make sure it’s one that is in your Part D plan’s pharmacy network. Otherwise, the shot will cost you more than the plan’s normal copayment, perhaps even full price. (Every state except Maine allows pharmacists to give vaccinations.)

* If you’re vaccinated in a doctor’s office, make sure the doctor can bill your plan directly through its computer billing process, or can work through a pharmacy in your plan’s network that can also bill the plan directly. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the entire bill upfront and then claim reimbursement from your plan.

The bottom line: Call your plan in advance and ask which pharmacies and doctors in your area you should use to receive the shingles vaccine at the plan’s regular copay.

Patricia Barry is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Membership Discount Benefit Pet Plan Dog

Members save 10% or more on Petplan pet insurance premiums.

Senior couple working on laptop. Medicare open enrollment. (David Jakle/Corbis)

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Ends Dec. 7 ─ AARP® Medicare Plans from UnitedHealthcare.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points