According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50,000 adults die annually from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Treatment for these preventable illnesses is estimated to have cost the Medicare program $106 billion from 2016 to 2018. Although many Part D plans cover vaccines, they usually require co-pays. The higher the co-pays, the more likely it is that patients will forgo the vaccine.
The legislation addresses the out-of-pocket payment required of Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom are on fixed incomes. Copayments apply to vaccines covered under Medicare Part D (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) and varicella zoster (shingles)) but not vaccines under Part B (flu, pneumococcal), which are available with no cost to the beneficiary. The bill will also improve education and access to recommended vaccines for Medicare beneficiaries, with the goal of helping to increase vaccination rates.
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