When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, the questions on everyone’s minds are, “How can I get one?” and “How much will it cost?”
For Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom are considered to be at greater risk for serious illness when exposed to the virus, quick access to the vaccine is key.
You’ll be happy to hear that, according to the latest framework developed by The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Medicare beneficiaries will be among the first to receive the vaccine — at no extra charge.
The federal government is working with multiple organizations to distribute the drug as quickly as possible. Additionally, the CDC is using a phased approach to ensure individuals at the highest risk are among the first to receive the drug. The CDC also stated the vaccine will be free to all Americans (though some health care providers may charge a fee for administering it).
Medicare and the COVID-19 vaccine
People enrolled in Medicare Part B will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost. Doses will be purchased by the government with taxpayer money, and Medicare will pay health care providers for the administration of the vaccine.
Medicare beneficiaries can expect to gain access to the vaccine relatively quickly. The first batch of vaccinations will go to first responders and health care providers who are exposed to the virus every day, as well as seniors living in group home settings. The second phase is planned to include all older adults (over age 65), as well as individuals with underlying health conditions (no matter their age).
FDA clears a vaccine
On Dec. 11, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a vaccine created by Pfizer for distribution. As expected, they are sending the first batch to health care workers and nursing home residents. Pfizer expects to provide upwards of 25 million doses by the end of the year, and has signed an agreement with the U.S. Government to supply 100 million doses by March. Vaccines under the agreement will be free to citizens.
FDA clears second vaccine UPDATED 12/19/20
On Dec. 18, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a second vaccine for distribution. This should greatly increase the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine over the coming months. The second vaccine was created by Moderna and is cleared for individuals age 18 and older. This vaccine is set to follow the same distribution framework outlined by the CDC.
Beware of scams
A pandemic is fertile ground for email and phone scammers. You do not need to provide advanced payment of any kind. If someone says they need your credit card number in order to get the vaccine, hang up!
We will be updating this article as more information is made available.