While most people associate vaccines with children, the truth is that people need vaccines throughout their lives, even into old age.
In fact, there are certain vaccines that are even more important for older adults, like the flu shot. However, since many seniors are living on a fixed income, they may worry about the cost of the vaccines. The good news is that Medicare does cover the cost of certain kinds of vaccines. Since not all vaccines are covered, it’s important for family caregivers to know which ones are covered, so their older family member isn’t hit with an unexpected bill and also gets the most out of their Medicare benefits. Below are some of the vaccines Medicare will pay for older adults to get.
Annual Flu Shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. Because older adults tend to have weaker immune systems, they are more prone to catching the flu and having more severe cases of it. The flu shot is an annual shot because it is reconfigured every year to address the specific strains of flu that scientists believe will be most prevalent in that year.
The flu vaccine is covered by Medicare Part B once every year. However, caregivers should be aware that they need to take the senior to a doctor who accepts Medicare or the vaccine may not be covered.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria or viruses and affects the lungs. Because pneumonia causes a lung infection, it can cause shortness of breath and lower oxygen levels. Pneumonia is a serious condition for seniors and can result in hospitalization or even death. In the past, doctors recommended only one pneumonia shot for people who were over the age of 65. However, the new guidelines recommend two pneumonia vaccines, PCV13, and PPSV23. The vaccines target different aspects of pneumonia, so together they provide better protection than a single shot.
Both kinds of pneumonia shots are covered by Medicare once after the age of 65. However, caregivers should know that only one dose of each vaccine is covered. That means that even if the senior’s doctor suggests they have additional doses, they will not be covered.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. If your aging relative has had chickenpox, and they probably have, they can get shingles because the virus remains dormant in the body after chickenpox. Later in life, it can reactivate and cause shingles. Shingles is itchy and can be painful. In some cases, it can even have long-term complications.
There are currently two different shingles vaccines offered. They are somewhat pricey and may not always be covered by Medicare. Caregivers will need to check the coverage the senior has. Some Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans will cover the shingles vaccine. It is not, however, covered under Medicare Part B.
If you or someone you know needs Home Care Services in Foley, AL, please contact the friendly caregivers at Hughes Home Care. We provide quality and affordable care for your elderly loved ones in our community. Call Us Today 251-517-9901. Serving Mobile & Baldwin County.
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