My old Marine requested and received his first Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted) shot, the new vaccine for shingles, at the VA Burlington Clinic in Vermont. It’s injected into a muscle so expect some soreness. Two shots are needed.
Shingrix is approved to prevent shingles in people 50 years and older (Link). Medicare does not cover the cost under Part A or B (Link). Coverage with Part D’s or a Medicare Advantage Plan’s will vary depending on insurer. Private insurance costs vary widely. Medicaid coverage varies by state.
The cost for the shots are high. GoodRx (Link) has a search engine that allows users to check cash pharmacy prices by zip code and plan and offer coupons. Blink Health is another search engine/discount program (LINK).
(No or Scrooge insurance? There are a few options. GlaxoSmtihKline Patient Assistance Program (Link) is worth investigating.
The CDC has a contract to buy Shingrix for health programs it supports–$102.19 per vial.
Not all veterans are allowed to enroll in VA health care and many do not have access to VA clinics. The Federal Community Health Centers can help veterans and everyone receive primary health care on an income-based sliding scale. To search for a center by zip code go to: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/
To check out current VA income and co-pay requirements, go to:
For general advice, Consumer Reports:
For a shingles overview, see Mayo article:
If you have any $ tips to share, please comment because people are reporting bills of $300 and up. The VA is expecting shipping delays due to high demand. I’m wondering if the VA is doing regional outreach to older veterans or do they have to request the vaccine?
Update: Under Obamacare (ACA), this may have to be covered by insurance within a year of a CDC MMWR recommendation–which was published 1/26/18. Some companies have already added it to their coverage. (LINK)