As the calendar page flips to a new month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reminds providers that August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Think of this annual national health observance as an opportunity to highlight the need for improving immunization levels.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list influenza and pneumococcal as especially serious diseases for adults 65 and older. Accordingly, you and your staff should encourage Medicare beneficiaries to stay current on their immunizations; especially seasonal influenza, pneumococcal and hepatitis B for those who are at risk.
Also keep in mind that Medicare Part B covers the following immunizations and their administration for qualified beneficiaries:
- Influenza immunizations -- Medicare covers both the costs of the vaccine and its administration by recognized providers. There is no coinsurance or co-payment applied to this benefit, and a beneficiary does not have to meet his or her deductible to receive this benefit.
- Pneumococcal vaccinations -- Medicare provides coverage for one pneumococcal vaccine for all beneficiaries. One vaccine at age 65 generally provides coverage for a lifetime, but for some high-risk persons, revaccination may be appropriate. Medicare will also cover a pneumococcal vaccine for persons at the highest risk if 5 years have passed since the last vaccination. There is no coinsurance or co-payment applied to this benefit, and a beneficiary does not have to meet his or her deductible to receive this benefit.
- Hepatitis B vaccinations -- Persons at high or intermediate risk -- such as people with renal disease, hemophilia and diabetes mellitus -- are among those who are eligible to receive coverage for this immunization benefit under Medicare Part B, when administered by qualified providers. The coinsurance or co-payment applies after the yearly deductible has been met.
Visit the CMS Immunization website  for additional information.
Photo used with permission from Shuttershock.com