August is National Immunization Awareness Month

For major health organizations such as the CDC, the month of August is promoted as National Immunization Awareness Month. It is important to understand the conditions that are prevented by immunizations, where you can get them and what immunizations are covered by health insurance.
By Matthew T
Updated Sep 2, 2021
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Since August is National Immunization Awareness Month, people of all ages throughout the United States should learn more about options that can protect them from disease. There are a lot of misconceptions or lack of information about vaccines, so immunization awareness month is recognized and promoted by major health organizations, such as the CDC, AAP, etc. This month is all about educating you about the conditions protected by immunizations, where you can get immunizations, and how many health insurance companies cover the cost of vaccination.

Insurance Companies Pay for Most Vaccinations

Private health insurance typically pays for recommended immunizations, often referred to as vaccinations, that protect individual health and the population’s health. In many cases, patients don’t even get charged co-payments as long as they stay within their insurance company’s provider network.

Health insurance companies see immunizations as a way to lower overall costs. When you get a free influenza vaccine, for example, your insurance provider lowers the risk that it will have to pay for treatments should you get sick with the flu.

Lower the number of flu cases may not seem like a significant step for healthy people. Data from the CDC, however, shows that health insurance companies have good reasons to pay for flu vaccinations. During the 2018 to 2019 flu season, an estimated:

  • 35.5 million Americans experienced symptoms of influenza.

  • 16.5 million Americans went to their doctors for influenza treatments.

  • Nearly half a million Americans were hospitalized for influenza.

  • More than 34,000 Americans died from influenza.

By using vaccines to lower the number of people who get the flu, insurance companies can potentially save billions of dollars while protecting lives.

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Vaccines Commonly Covered by Private Health Insurance

The flu vaccine is just one example of immunizations that many private insurance companies will cover. Other popular vaccines that insurance providers pay for include:

  • Hepatitis A and B

  • Herpes

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Measles

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)

  • Meningococcus, which can cause meningitis

  • Pneumococcal

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap)

  • Varicella (chickenpox)

If you don’t know which vaccinations your health insurance provider covers, contact the company for more information. It’s always a good idea to learn about your coverage before getting any vaccine or treatment. That way, you can avoid unnecessary charges covered by your insurance policy.

Alternative Payment Options for Vaccinations

Private health insurance is the easiest way to acknowledge National Immunization Wellness Month because so many companies will pay for your vaccinations. If you don’t have a health insurance policy, explore your options to find one that matches your budget and health concerns.

You also have some alternative payment options for vaccinations. Since they involve government programs, though, only certain people qualify. Alternatives listed by the CDC include:

  • Medicare Part B, which pays for flu, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B vaccines.

  • Medicare Part D, which pays for zoster (shingles), MMR, and Tdap vaccines.

  • Medicaid, which has various coverage options depending on where you live.

Some pharmacies also have programs that can give you access to free or low-cost vaccines.

Age-Specific Vaccinations That Protect Health Throughout a Lifetime

Medical experts recommend that people get certain vaccinations at precise ages. Patients may need to get the vaccines, again, later in life, but early immunization is essential for health in a highly social society.

Some recommended ages for vaccinations include:

Birth to 15 months:

  • Three doses to prevent Hepatitis B

  • Two to three doses to prevent Rotavirus

  • Four Dtap doses

  • One dose of MMR

  • Three doses to prevent polio

  • Two doses to prevent Hepatitis A

From 18 Months to 18 years, most patients should receive:

  • A third dose against Hepatitis B

  • Two more Dtap doses

  • Additional doses to prevent HPV

Vaccinations That Prevent Disease and Promote Health in Adults

Once patients enter adulthood, they usually have immunizations against major diseases like polio and HPV. Preventing some diseases, however, requires yearly vaccines. Influenza, for instance, evolves rapidly. The virus’s evolution forces medical researchers to develop new vaccines for prominent strains expected to emerge during upcoming flu seasons.

Recommended adult immunizations include:

  • An annual flu shot

  • A booster Tdap every 10 years

  • HPV, depending on previous immunizations

  • Two to three doses for Hepatitis A and B

Recommended vaccinations can change over time. Some patients may also need additional vaccinations to stay healthy. Conversely, some people have health conditions that make it unwise to get certain immunizations.

Talk to your doctor about developing an immunization schedule that meets your unique needs. Remember that most private health insurance policies cover the cost of your vaccinations. Depending on your policy, it may pay the total or part of the cost.

Find an Insurance Policy That Promotes Health by Paying for Vaccines

Nearly all private health insurance policies cover the cost of vaccines that protect people from polio, influenza, and other serious illnesses. Paying for these vaccines help people live healthier lives. When insurance companies cover the costs, they become more attractive to informed patients. Plus, they get to lower the overall amount of money that they will spend on policyholders.

Some health insurance policies cover more options than other plans, though. Make sure you explore your options so you can compare plans. It’s important to get the highest level of coverage possible without exceeding your budget. Getting quotes and comparing plans makes that possible.

In honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, take some time to learn more about your policy. If you would like an option that covers more vaccines, take a few minutes to compare policies so you can get the protection you deserve. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying high out-of-pocket costs.

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