Shingles Mingles

I got the Shingles shot. I’ve always heard having Shingles was really painful, but I never knew there could be painful, long term side effects from having it. That’s pretty scary. Thanks to Julia’s post at RV Retirement Dream, I learned this. And it was just the little bit of extra impetus to get Dan and I up to our nearby Walgreens to get this taken care of once and for all.

However, Dan did not get the vaccine. My health insurance, for which I pay dearly, covered the shot at 100%. Right now, Dan has Medicare with Humana for the prescription coverage. More about that in a minute. The cost to Dan for his Shingles vaccine was going to be $179. Once the clerk told him that, Dan said, “Forget it. You just get it.”

Dan pays $57.90 a month for his Humana prescription coverage. He couldn’t believe the Shingles vaccine was not covered. Dan, knock on wood, is very healthy and takes NO medications. None. Nada. Zippo.

Last January, Dan was surprised to see his Humana prescription coverage increase to $57.90 a month. The year before it had been $29.20. Yes, we did get the notice in late Fall about the increase, but we didn’t read it. I guess we assumed (see that word?) that there would be an increase, but we never thought it would increase that much.

Of course, he was stuck with that for one year, but we resolved not be fooled twice. We saw a “Senior Health Solutions” office near us with a large banner, “Medicare Enrollment Center.” We stopped there one day and went in with the sole purpose of finding a lower cost Medicare prescription program.

When Dan went on Medicare five years ago, we met with an insurance agent. We told him we wanted Medicare supplement insurance, and this is what he sold us. We thought we were informed and were making a good decision.

“Senior Health Solutions” is staffed by insurance brokers whose job it is to help you to figure out the best Medicare options for you. The broker we met, Dan, lives right near us, and we found him to be extremely helpful. Now, this is not an endorsement; it’s just our experience. Dan, the insurance broker, told Dan and I about Medicare Advantage Plans, and we plan to sign Dan up for the United Healthcare version of that.

With this new plan, Dan will be saving $232 a month beginning in 2021. Here’s the breakdown:

  • No more Medicare Part B supplement: $134
  • No more Medicare Part D Prescription Drug supplement: $58
  • No more separate dental insurance: $40

Now, with the plan he chose, there are copays; however, the maximum out of pocket is $2900, not including dental. $232 times 12 months equals $2784, so this is a bet we’re willing to take.

We’ll have to see how this new plan works out. The immediate question is will it cover a shingles vaccine for him once 2021 begins. The clerk at Walgreens did tell us Walgreens bills the shot as a drug whereas it is billed differently at a doctor’s office, so it’s possible it would be cheaper at his doctor’s office. Dan is going to call to find out. We still want him to get the Shingles vaccine; we’re just trying to figure out the most cost effective way of doing that.

When I left the little room where I got my shot and entered the waiting area, Dan said, “You done already?” “Yep”, I replied, and then I quickly added, “And she said no cooking for seven days, and no housekeeping of any kind for seven days either.” The three seniors in the waiting area burst out laughing. I guess it doesn’t take much to put on a good show in the Walgreens waiting area. The only one not laughing was Dan. He was still fuming about Humana.

14 comments

  1. Hi Betty,

    Thanks for sharing my post. I hope Dan can get the shot at the doctor’s office this year. If not, I hope the shot is covered next year.

    Good job on trying to get out of the housework! 😂

    Julia

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find this very interesting as we’ve been discussing Advantage plans. Thanks for the great info! Enjoy your leisurely days recovering from your Shingles shot while your hubby waits on you hand and foot. 🤣🤪

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you found it interesting. Yes, I’m going to like being waited on – should it ever happen!
      🙂 One good thing is you can always go back to the old way during open enrollment. We are going to try it and see how it works! Good luck with your decisions, and enjoy your day, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good information. I have UnitedHealthcare Advantage Plan because they have a nationwide network. Since we travel much of the year it seemed like my best option. I pay the premiums but haven’t needed to use it, so I can’t give an assessment. I’ve not gotten the shingles vaccine yet so I can’t help with any info there. Hope it all works out. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. The United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plan Dan is going to sign up for has some options for travel. Something like emergencies are covered, and otherwise, you can call a number and be covered for that area. The best scenario is not having had to use it! Thanks for your wishes, and safe travels!

      Like

  4. Thanks for the info. We have had similar issues especially because we are full time. Finding quality health insurance at a reasonable price is not easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome. The plan Dan is going to get has a feature for travelers. It is something like all emergency care is covered, and if you are going to be away from home for some time, you can call before and get covered in a network there as part of the plan. I am sure we will learn more about the plan once its coverage begins in 2021. Stay safe, and enjoy your day!

      Like

  5. I got a shingles shot several years ago. In Canada there is a 2nd shingles shot that gives improved immunity. I’m planning on getting that vaccine when I have my annual flu shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a second shot I am to get 2 to 6 months after the first. Then that’s it. I will get the booster and then be done. Good for you for doing all you can to stay healthy, too. Stay safe, and enjoy your day!

      Like

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