Medicare and the COVID-19 Vaccine
We have all been enduring the COVID pandemic much longer than we could have ever anticipated. With the creation of the vaccine, we have found hope again. There is a way that we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the dangerous coronavirus. We have heard a lot about the vaccines and people scrambling to sign up. The process is different in each state, but Medicare applies the same as a federal program. Read for details on Medicare coverage of the COVID vaccine.
What Is the Vaccine?
Taking the vaccine “helps reduce the risk of illness from COVID-19 by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to the virus” (Medicare.gov). This is especially important for individuals in high risk categories such as the elderly or those with health conditions that compromise their immune systems.
The good news for all of us is that, “after two required doses, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have a 94% to 95% efficacy rate of protection against COVID-19” (CVS). Side effects can include “pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain or chills and fever” (CVS). There is a very minimal risk of an allergic reaction, which is why people receiving the vaccine are asked to remain at the site for observation for 15 or so minutes afterwards.
Does Medicare Cover the Vaccine Cost?
Most people who have insurance coverage will not have to pay for the COVID vaccine. If you have Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), you will not have to pay anything to get the vaccine. Remember to take your Medicare card with you so that the vaccine provider will be able to apply the bill to Medicare.
If you have Medicare Part A, known as hospital insurance, then you still pay nothing for the vaccine. However, some providers and pharmacies might charge a fee for administering the vaccine. You can inquire about this before getting the shot. Check out the Medicare webpage for further details.
How Can I Make an Appointment to Get the Vaccine?
You have many different options dependent on where you live and which age and risk categories you fall in. Each state has different protocols for administering the vaccine. A good place to start is to research your county’s policies for receiving the vaccine. That will tell you what your next steps should be to go through a county site. In 19 states, you also have the option of getting the vaccine CVS pharmacy, which has administered millions of COVID vaccines thus far. Click HERE to see if your state is one of these and schedule your appointment today. And visit the directory of local health departments for specifics on your area.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Medicare and the Vaccine?
According to their official site, “Medicare also covers COVID-19 tests, COVID-19 antibody tests, and COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments.” If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to the coronavirus or are exhibiting symptoms, Medicare will pay for you to be tested.
In addition, they want to caution everyone with Medicare not to provide your Medicare number to anyone. If you have Medicare, you have access to the vaccine free of charge, so be wary of anyone who asks for your information offering early access to the vaccine.