Does Medicare cover the shingles vaccine?

Shingles is a painful rash that affects your skin. Anyone who has ever had chicken pox is susceptible to shingles, when the chicken pox virus comes out of hiding and reactivates, causing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, blisters, and also sometimes flu-like symptoms. There are an estimated 1 million new cases of shingles each year in the United states, and the risk of an outbreak increases with age, so people over the age of 65 are more susceptible than younger adults.

Medicare Part B itself does not cover the shingles vaccine. However, many Part D drug plan carriers offer the vaccine, called Zostravax, on their formulary. You will pay a co-payment or co-insurance for your share of the vaccine cost. If you wish to get the shingles vaccine, talk to your doctor about prescribing it for you.