The CDC recommends adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent complications from the disease.
It’s more than 90% effective in preventing illness, according to the CDC. But for many people on Medicare, it’s unaffordable.
Despite covering preventative care, Medicare does not cover the shingles vaccine and at times charges up to $200 for the shot.
In January, that will change. The Inflation Reduction Act aims to reduce the cost of some drugs and close this barrier to good healthcare.
“As of January 2023, all vaccinations that are covered under Medicare part D that are approved and recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and also by the CDC, will be covered without a co-pay. So, no cost sharing is going to be associated with [Shingrix],” said Alejandra Rischan, lead benefits counselor for the Houston-Galveston area Counsel.
Rischan said the most common question she gets is why the shingles vaccine isn’t covered by Medicare, but the Inflation Reduction Act is set to change that.
“All these changes are kind of slowly trickling out with the information, and there are a lot of changes that are going to be coming in the next five years for folks who are on Medicare to (help) save a little bit more money, so we’re really excited to see the rollout of this program,” Rischan said.
Shingles are an invasive, painful rash that can damage your vision, damage your hearing, make you lose hair, and cause long-term nerve pain in people over 40, (referred to as PHN.)