Nearly one in three people will develop shingles at some point in their life. Even though shingles can occur in all age-groups, it has always been more common in elderly people. As we age, our immune system weakens and this gives the virus an opportunity to attack. Fortunately, there is a way to protect both yourself and those around you from the virus.
If you have ever had chickenpox, then there is a possibility that you will develop shingles as well. The reason for this is shingles forms from the same virus that causes chickenpox. If the chickenpox virus reactivates, then shingles will develop.
The shingles vaccine protects 90% of adults 70 or older who receive the shot. If you were to not get vaccinated and later develop shingles, you come in contact with someone and pass the virus onto them, even if that person has never had chickenpox before. This is because the virus that carries both chickenpox and shingles is contagious.
Shingles Side Effects in Elderly People
Shingles are painful blisters that form a rash in the shape of a stripe. Side effects of shingles in the elderly can present as numbness, itchiness, tingling, and even flu-like symptoms.
If you have had chickenpox in the past, and you haven’t had the shingles vaccine yet, it may be something you want to consider sooner rather than later, especially if you are over 60. The older you get, the more likely that the virus can reactivate and cause shingles.
Shingles in adults over 60 can be much more advanced and take longer to heal. That’s why knowing how Medicare will cover the shingles vaccine is important.
How is the Vaccine for Shingles in Seniors Covered?
Some doctor offices try to charge several hundreds of dollars to administer the shingles vaccine. So, if you’re not sure on how your doctor should bill Medicare, odds are you’ll end up with that bill in your hands.
This happens because most doctors bill your Medicare Part B to cover it, when in fact Part B is not responsible for the vaccine.
So how to get it covered? If you have a Part D plan that has Zostravax listed on the formulary, then your doctor can bill your Medicare Part D. Zostravax is the shingles vaccine and ranges anywhere from $200 to $300.
Part D usually pays at least 50% of the total cost for the vaccine. That’s why you always want to make sure your doctor bills the correct plan before you hand any money over to them. While you cover the other 50% out of pocket, it’s well worth it to avoid the pain and suffering that shingles can cause.
Why It’s Smart to Know a Medicare Expert
Having a Medicare Expert on your side can prevent you from paying bills that aren’t necessarily yours to pay. Our Texas Medicare Plan service team is here to help our clients with Medicare billing issues, just like this one, along with other hiccups that happen while having Medicare coverage.