As we all begin the journey back to normal, we’re eager to leave COVID-19 behind us as an issue of the past. Unfortunately, it can still be a serious threat, especially for seniors or anyone who is immunocompromised. Due to this, it is important to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine that is currently available to ensure the highest level of protection and prevent a serious infection that could leave you sick or even hospitalized.
Is it Covered?
The short answer is—yes! If you have Medicare, the updated COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost to you. This updated vaccine targets the original COVID-19 strain as well as 2 Omicron variants (BA.4/BA.5), and it can be administered 2 months after you receive the initial vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, or Johnson & Johnson. Whichever initial vaccine you choose, the updated vaccine is available from either Pfizer (12 and older) or Moderna (18 and older).
If you are immunocompromised, you can receive a third dose of the initial vaccine 28 days after the second dose was administered at no cost to you. This is a good way to strengthen your original vaccine before receiving the updated one and lower your risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus even further. It is important not to mix vaccines. The most readily available options are Pfizer and Moderna. What you choose for your first 2 doses should also be what you receive as your third dose.
For those who are unable to access a vaccination site due to a disability or other circumstances, Medicare will fully cover the cost of having a doctor come to your home for vaccination. This doctor will likely need your Medicare Number in order to bill the procedure appropriately. This is the only scenario when someone may need your Medicare Number to render services and ensure that the costs are appropriately covered, so be alert to any other potential scams.
Scammers have taken to stealing Medicare Numbers from policyholders, so guard your Medicare card and be very careful about who is able to access your information. If you have Medicare send a doctor to your home, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re legitimate by going through the proper channels, so you know your sensitive information is safe.
Did You Pay for Your Vaccine?
If you were on Medicare when you received your COVID-19 vaccines and you had to pay, there are some things to check to find out if you should have been charged.
- Check any statements from the provider that gave you the vaccine for mistakes.
- Call the provider to discuss any charges that may be erroneous.
- Original Medicare policyholders can check their “Medicare Summary Notice” for errors.
- Medicare Advantage policyholders can check their “Explanation of Benefits” to find out what’s covered and contest any suspicious charges.
In the majority of cases, a charge for the COVID-19 vaccine is a mistake that can be rectified by the provider. If you were charged for services when you only received a vaccine, Medicare recommends that you report them to the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Contact Aging Benefits Advisory Today!
If you need help navigating the world of senior health insurance, our advisors at Aging Benefits Advisory are here to assist. Take advantage of our free consultation to ensure that you receive the plan for your budget and needs. We specialize in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, Dental, Vision, and Final Expense for the senior market of Pinellas County, Pasco County, Manatee County, Hillsborough County, Polk County, Sarasota County, Citrus County, and Marion County, Florida. If you would like a free consultation, contact us online or give us a call at 727-800-4835. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.