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Old 10-07-2014, 11:53 AM   #61
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I believe Medicare covers the shingles vaccine under part D.
According to BCBS, my federal BCBS plan that I carry along with Medicare is equal to or better than Part D plans, making the latter redundant. Sounds like my plan should help defray some of the costs, then. Thanks!

I loved that Medicare Part B covered today's flu vaccination entirely.
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:50 PM   #62
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The shingles vaccine was fully covered under my federal retiree BCBS health plan with no co-pay -- however, I needed a doctor's prescription to get it (unlike the flu vaccine, which you don't need a prescription for and can just walk in and get).
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:55 PM   #63
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According to BCBS, my federal BCBS plan that I carry along with Medicare is equal to or better than Part D plans, making the latter redundant. Sounds like my plan should help defray some of the costs, then. Thanks!

I loved that Medicare Part B covered today's flu vaccination entirely.
A couple of years ago, when I was interested in getting a shingles vaccine, I called BCBS to verify my coverage. BCBS would only cover it if it was administered at a doctor's office. (I'm glad I called, as I was planning to go to a local pharmacy to get the shot.) My doctor had to order the shingles vaccine which took a few weeks (due to supply issues). BCBS paid 100% which made me happy (as compared to shelling-out ~$250 out-of-pocket).

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Old 10-07-2014, 01:00 PM   #64
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I think BCBS requires that it is *prescribed* by a physician, but in my experience they didn't care where it is actually administered. I asked for and got a prescription from my doctor at my annual physical, but then got the shot itself at Safeway during a grocery shopping visit (and got a 10% off coupon to boot!). Their pharmacy had the vaccine in stock, so no delay, no waiting. BCBS paid for it all.
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Old 10-07-2014, 01:35 PM   #65
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Thanks, all! Sounds like I could possibly save some $$$ if I call BCBS and maybe get a prescription from my doctor, before getting my shingles shot.
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Old 10-07-2014, 01:36 PM   #66
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I think BCBS requires that it is *prescribed* by a physician, but in my experience they didn't care where it is actually administered. I asked for and got a prescription from my doctor at my annual physical, but then got the shot itself at Safeway during a grocery shopping visit (and got a 10% off coupon to boot!). Their pharmacy had the vaccine in stock, so no delay, no waiting. BCBS paid for it all.
I do not have part D as I have BCBS for prescription drugs which includes the shingle vaccine. When I called BCBS they said while the vaccine did not have to be administered in a Dr's office (this is a change from previous years) it must be given by a "licensed medical professional" which to them did NOT include a pharmacist. Go figure. My Dr does not carry the shingles vaccine due to special storage issues. They want $214 at Walgreens.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:26 AM   #67
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Shingles vaccine at a CVS pharmacy, no muss no fuss. They checked first for me through their system to be sure it would be covered as 100% preventative. I knew it should be with my insurance, but they could check to be sure it would process, so there would be no surprises for me later, like a getting a $200+ bill in the mail.

Walmart here gives all sorts of shots through their pharmacy, including Shingles, but they weren't listed on my insurance company website for vaccinations, so I assume they are not part of the insurance companys preventative program for vaccinations.
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:38 PM   #68
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DH and I, both in our late 50s, recently got shingles vaccines. Mine through my primary care physician and DH at Walgreens. We have BCBS and had no out of pocket costs in either case. Here's my question. My doctor told me the shingles vaccine is good for 5 years. The pharmacist at Walgreens told DH one vaccine is good for life. Any chance of different vaccines? If not, who's correct - doctor or pharmacist?
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:31 PM   #69
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My doctor told me the shingles vaccine is good for 5 years. The pharmacist at Walgreens told DH one vaccine is good for life. Any chance of different vaccines? If not, who's correct - doctor or pharmacist?
Here's what WebMd says, FWIW:

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Keep in mind that researchers still don't know how long immunity lasts with the shingles vaccine. More research, though, will determine whether a booster shot will be needed at some point later on.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:56 PM   #70
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What's the deal with age 60? Is that when people are most likely to get shingles? My wife got it around age 40 and one of my friends just got it coming up on 46. Do I correctly understand that you can't get the vaccine this young? Sorry if this was covered. This caught my attention but didn't take the time to read through all of the posts.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:49 PM   #71
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What's the deal with age 60? Is that when people are most likely to get shingles? My wife got it around age 40 and one of my friends just got it coming up on 46. Do I correctly understand that you can't get the vaccine this young? Sorry if this was covered. This caught my attention but didn't take the time to read through all of the posts.
Both the frequency and severity of shingles goes up as you age. The dividing line between a small event and a big event seems to be about age 50. Younger people have stronger immune systems. When I had it a couple of years ago (age 46?), I experienced almost no pain, and no rash that popped through my skin.

The vaccine is actually recommended for 50 and over but they had changed it to 60 for reasons of not enough vaccine (not sure what the latest info is though)

One reason not to take it before 50 is that no one really knows the long long term efficacy of the vaccine. So best not to get it until it will actually do some real good.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:15 PM   #72
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It's not clear to me how a vaccination for a virus one's body has already seen (shingles is another manifestation of the chickenpox virus), and presumably has already created anitbodies for, can be effective.
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:11 AM   #73
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It's not clear to me how a vaccination for a virus one's body has already seen (shingles is another manifestation of the chickenpox virus), and presumably has already created anitbodies for, can be effective.
Good question:
Zostavax (shingles vaccine)

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How does it work?
Zostavax contains a live but weakened form of the virus that causes shingles, Varicella-zoster. This is the virus that also causes chickenpox. The vaccine works by stimulating the body's immune response to this virus, without actually causing disease.
Most people catch the Varicella-zoster virus in childhood, at which point it usually causes chickenpox. However some people can be infected with the virus without actually getting the chickenpox symptoms.
Once inside your body, the Varicella-zoster virus can remain inactive in your nerve cells for decades. Your immune system produces antibodies against the virus and keeps it from causing further infections. However, as you get older your immunity to this virus weakens and this can cause it to reactivate. When the virus reactivates it causes shingles, not chickenpox. This can also happen if you become very run down or have a condition or treatment that weakens your immune system.
Zostavax contains a weakened form of the Varicella zoster virus. It is given to make your body produce more antibodies against this virus and boost the body’s weakening immunity to it. This helps prevent any dormant virus from reactivating and causing shingles.


Read more: Zostavax (shingles vaccine)
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Old 10-17-2014, 11:34 AM   #74
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I wonder….Is there anyone on this forum who got the shingles vaccine but still ended up with shingles?

I was talking with a friend the other day who had it at age 60. He still has affects from it. He's now 63. He urged me to get the vaccine. I'm very cautious with vaccines as I always wonder if there is a part of it that doesn't create the antibodies but goes dormant only to rear it's head later (since they are all made with live virus).
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:02 PM   #75
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I wonder….Is there anyone on this forum who got the shingles vaccine but still ended up with shingles?

I was talking with a friend the other day who had it at age 60. He still has affects from it. He's now 63. He urged me to get the vaccine. I'm very cautious with vaccines as I always wonder if there is a part of it that doesn't create the antibodies but goes dormant only to rear it's head later (since they are all made with live virus).
The vaccine reduces the incidence of shingles by around 50% and tends to reduce the severity. Most importantly, it reduces the incidence of the most severe form of shingles by about 75%.

Roughly 30% of peoples will get shingles in their lifetime. So the vaccine makes a real impact compared to vaccinations against rarer diseases or diseases with less severe consequences.
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:44 PM   #76
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My Dr. suggested I get the vaccine last year at the age of 53. Insurance paid for all of it. Lots of drugstores in the Seattle area carry the vaccine. No side effects. Hopefully, no Shingles anytime ever.
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Old 10-25-2014, 04:27 PM   #77
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Got the shingles shot the day after I turned 60 (60 was when my insurance would pay for it). 11 months later I got the shingles, a mild case, 9 months after that I got the shingles again, also a mild case. So since I have gotten the shingles shot I have had the shingles twice! Kind of disconcerting but at least they were both mild cases which my doctor attributes to having gotten the vaccine.
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Old 10-25-2014, 07:10 PM   #78
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...Here's my question. My doctor told me the shingles vaccine is good for 5 years. The pharmacist at Walgreens told DH one vaccine is good for life. Any chance of different vaccines? If not, who's correct - doctor or pharmacist?
The pharmacist is correct if you don't get shingles but should die within five years of getting the shot.
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Old 10-25-2014, 09:49 PM   #79
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I got the shingles shot in my late 50's and my insurance paid for it. I had shingles in 08/14 and I am 61. I had one small spot on my back and it was extremely mild. I was so glad that I had the shot. The bad part was my second grandchild was born 8/18/14, so I stayed away from her for about 3 weeks. I did not want to take any chances of her getting them.
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:07 PM   #80
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Yesterday, I mentioned to my primary care Dr. that I was thinking about getting the shingles vaccination. He said that he would do a test to determine my level of shingles antibodies, and if that level was high, then there was no need for me to get the shot, and he also said that if my antibody level was already pretty high, that getting the shot might even make me more likely to get shingles. I've never heard this stuff before. Has anybody else?

He showed me test results of another patient (blocking out their personal info) & pointed out that this patient tested with a high level of the antibodies already present in her system, so he recommended that she not get the shot. That was his example to me, in case my antibody test came back similarly high. I let them draw the blood for the test, & they are supposed to call me on Monday. I went ahead & got my flu shot.
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