Thursday, April 01, 2010

Covered, Sorta

Shingles is nasty stuff. An affliction that usually torments older people, shingles acts on the surface and beneath the skin and generates intense pain. I had chicken pox as a kid, making me more susceptible to the disease than those who did not.

A vaccine prevents shingles in the majority of people. The vaccination costs $225 in our area. So, it was good news when our insurer announced it had decided to cover the cost of the vaccine.
Note the insurer promised to cover the cost of the vaccine.

I overlooked the nuances of the announcement language and signed on for the shot at the first area pharmacy I found that offered the service. They charged me $35 for the five minutes it took to do a little paper work and poke the needle in my arm. The nice older couple next in line had different insurance coverage; they had to pony up $74 for one shot.

I now know that if your insurance does not cover the entire cost of a vaccination, both the vaccine and administering it, you will be wise to shop around to find out what various providers will charge to give you the needle. That cost can vary considerably from one place to another.

The recently enacted reforms in health care insurance may eliminate the discrepancies. New regulations will be coming to require all insurers to cover vaccinations. But until the new procedures are established and debugged, it would be smart to read the fine print in your policy and if need be go shopping for a low-cost drug dispenser before signing up for shots.


Kay Dennison said...

Thanks for the tip!!! I have a scrip for floating around here for the vaccine and so far as I know only one place has it. I'm gonna call my part D folks and talk to them.

Alan G said...

That dreaded disease welcomed me to my retirement....

On a Friday ‘round the end of September in 2003 I retired. Sunday morning, two days later, I was in the local hospital emergency room receiving my Shingles diagnoses. And the next three month was pretty much a nightmare.

I had heard of the word “shingles” before that day but was completely clueless about the disease until that day. I still have a couple of areas on my body which still exhibit nerve damage that was caused by my bout with Shingles.

I have not gotten the vaccine yet but I can certainly recommend getting one. Whether $25 or $225 it is worth every cent if it prevents the disease.

For a time I assumed you could only get it once, once you had it, but a neighbor up the street has had it three times which certainly should be a wake-up call to previous victims of the disease like me.