Vaccination coverage: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 60 and older should get a one-time shingles vaccination — called Zostavax. Even if you’ve already had shingles, you still need the vaccination because reoccurring cases are possible.
See zostavax.com or call 877-974-4645 for more information or to locate a vaccine provider in your area.
The vaccine also is very safe. For most people, the worst side effect is mild redness or arm soreness.
You also need to know that Medicare covers the shingles vaccine as one of its preventive benefits. But, unlike some other vaccines that are paid through Part B, the shingles vaccination is covered by Part D.
If you have a Part D prescription drug plan, it will pay for the vaccine itself and for your doctor or other health care provider to give you the shot. You are only responsible for paying the plan’s approved copay at the time you get vaccinated, which usually runs around $60 to $80.
Make sure you follow your plan’s rules to keep your out-of-pocket costs down.
If you’re vaccinated at a drugstore, check to make certain it’s in your Part D plan pharmacy network. Otherwise, the shot will cost you more than your usual copay.
If you’re inoculated in a doctor’s office, check to make sure the office can bill your plan or at least can work through a drugstore in your plan’s network. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the entire bill upfront and then claim reimbursement from your plan.
Just to be safe, call your Part D drug plan ahead of time and ask which pharmacies and doctors in your area you can use to receive the shingles vaccine at the plan’s regular copay.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.