Medicare and the COVID-19 Booster Shot
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve probably heard about the COVID-19 booster shot. It’s been approved and you can even mix and match which brand of vaccine you get.
But what is the booster, and will Medicare cover it? Today, we’re going to answer those questions and help you get the information you need to make an educated and conscientious vaccination decision.
What is the COVID-19 booster shot?
Booster shots have been used for various vaccinations over the years to “boost” the immune system. It is to increase the effectiveness of the medicine in the vaccine.
The COVID-19 booster shot boosts your previous vaccination to help it remain potent in fighting off COVID-19 and its variants. The booster is designed to help people maintain their level of immunity for longer.
When do you get the COVID-19 booster shot?
Currently, you can get a booster shot at least six months after you complete your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Or, if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can get a booster shot at least two months after your first dose.
Who is eligible for the Pfizer booster shot?
Current CDC guidelines for eligibility for the Pfizer booster shot recommend that those over 65, with certain underlying conditions, living in a long-term care home or working in a high-risk environment can get a booster at least six months after getting their initial vaccination.
For example, if you got your initial vaccine in April 2021, you are eligible for your booster in November 2021.
To learn more about the Pfizer vaccine, we recommend checking out the Pfizer information page on the CDC website.
Who is eligible for the Moderna booster shot?
Much like with the Pfizer vaccine, eligibility for the Moderna booster shot is recommended for those over 65, with underlying conditions, living in a long-term care home or working in a high-risk environment at least six months after your initial vaccination.
To learn more about the Moderna vaccine, we recommend checking out the Moderna information page on the CDC website.
Who is eligible for the Johnson & Johnson booster shot?
Unlike the other two vaccines available, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-shot vaccine instead of two shots for the initial dosage. Because of this, the Johnson & Johnson booster is recommended sooner than the others.
Those over 65, with underlying conditions, living in a long-term care home or working in a high-risk environment are eligible to get the Johnson & Johnson booster shot at least two months after the initial dosage.
To learn more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we recommend checking out the Johnson & Johnson information page on the CDC website.
Does Medicare cover the COVID-19 booster shot?
Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine and the booster shot without any copayment or deductible. You pay nothing. Your provider cannot charge you an administration fee for giving you the shot, either.
Medicare also covers COVID-19 tests, antibody tests, and monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19. We go into more detail about what those are and when you might need them in our previous post about COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 coverage.
Does Medicare Advantage cover COVID-19 booster shots?
Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover the same basics as Original Medicare plans. Medicare Advantage plans cover 100% of all COVID-19 vaccination and booster costs.
Medicare Advantage plans also cover a variety of other vaccinations and preventative screenings. To see what else you may qualify for, check out previous blog post about screenings, tests and shots.
You have options when it comes to protecting yourself against COVID-19. Talk with your doctor to find out what option is right for you.
COVID-19 is deadly for older adults and, for those who are eligible for the vaccine, getting a booster shot is an easy way to stay safe from illness.
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