Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Vaccines?

You pay nothing for your COVID-19 vaccination so long as you are enrolled in Medicare Part B or a Medicare Advantage plan. You also do not have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccination if you only have Medicare Part A, but the provider that gives you the shot may charge you an administration fee.

Terry Turner, writer and researcher for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Terry Turner

    Terry Turner

    Senior Financial Writer and Financial Wellness Facilitator

    Terry Turner has more than 35 years of journalism experience, including covering benefits, spending and congressional action on federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare. He is a Certified Financial Wellness Facilitator through the National Wellness Institute and the Foundation for Financial Wellness and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®).

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  • Edited By
    Lee Williams
    Lee Williams, senior editor for RetireGuide.com

    Lee Williams

    Senior Financial Editor

    Lee Williams is a professional writer, editor and content strategist with 10 years of professional experience working for global and nationally recognized brands. He has contributed to Forbes, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, AskMen.com, Electric Literature and The Wall Street Journal. His career also includes ghostwriting for Fortune 500 CEOs and published authors.

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  • Reviewed By
    Aflak Chowdhury
    Aflak Chowdhury

    Aflak Chowdhury

    Medicare Expert

    Aflak Chowdhury is a Medicare expert and independent insurance broker specializing in group health insurance. He has worked for major providers including Humana and Principal Financial Group and today works mainly in the small group market.

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  • Published: February 15, 2021
  • Updated: October 23, 2023
  • 5 min read time
  • This page features 13 Cited Research Articles
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A licensed insurance professional reviewed this page for accuracy and compliance with the CMS Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines (MCMGs) and Medicare Advantage (MA/MAPD) and/or Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) carriers’ guidelines.

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APA Turner, T. (2023, October 23). Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Vaccines? RetireGuide.com. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/vaccines/covid-19/

MLA Turner, Terry. "Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Vaccines?" RetireGuide.com, 23 Oct 2023, https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/vaccines/covid-19/.

Chicago Turner, Terry. "Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Vaccines?" RetireGuide.com. Last modified October 23, 2023. https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/vaccines/covid-19/.

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Medicare Will Cover Your COVID-19 Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination costs are covered completely under Medicare Part B medical insurance. Part B covers medical costs such as doctor visits and other medical services. The cost of the vaccine will not be applied to your Part B deductible and you will not have to pay coinsurance.

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers whose policies are approved by Medicare. These plans are required to cover all costs covered by Original Medicare — Medicare Part A and Part B. Because of this, all Medicare Advantage plans are also required to cover all costs of your COVID-19 vaccination.

Medicare Part A covers hospital costs. But if it is the only Medicare part that you have, it will pay for the vaccine. However, you may have to pay an administration fee to the doctor, hospital, pharmacy or other health care provider who gives you your shot.

Does Medicare Cover COVID-19 Testing and Treatment?

Medicare also overs COVID-19 testing, treatment and other related services.

COVID-19 Services Medicare Covers
  • FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccinations
  • COVID-19 tests ordered by a health care provider and performed by a laboratory
  • COVID-19 antibody tests

Medicare does not cover over the counter COVID-19 testing.

If you have Medicare, you still may have out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatments and hospitalization. You will have to pay your Medicare Part A deductible of $1,632 per benefit period in 2024. You will also have to pay the standard Medicare costs for extended hospital stays beyond 60 days.

Medicare covers COVID-19 treatments that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

As of Jan. 24, 2022, the FDA announced that due to the spreading of the Omnicron variant, bamlanivimab and etesevimab — types of monoclonal antibody treatment that’s delivered to patients through an IV infusion —  are no longer authorized in any U.S. region.

Some types of monoclonal antibodies are still available under specific conditions. Refer to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for updates on coverage and access to monoclonal antibodies.

If you do qualify for a monoclonal antibody treatment that is approved by the FDA — there will be no copay or deductible.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are at risk for severe symptoms, you may be prescribed an oral antiviral treatment. Medicare Part D covers this treatment, but your deductible, copayment and coinsurance still apply.

Does Medicare Advantage Cover COVID-19 Vaccines?

Your COVID-19 vaccine is covered by Part B, which is included in Medicare Advantage.

COVID-19 Vaccines Covered by Medicare Advantage
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Novavax

You don’t have to pay out of pocket for your first shot, second shot or any recommended booster shot for the COVID-19 vaccine. This means you don’t pay a deductible, copayment or coinsurance for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Did You Know
As of Jan. 1, 2023, Medicare enrollees no longer have to pay out of pocket for any vaccine recommended for adults by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This includes the expensive shingles shots.

How Do Medicare Recipients Sign Up for a COVID-19 Vaccination?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers and the federal government are distributing COVID-19 vaccines to state and federally approved vaccine centers where you can get your shot.

Vaccines.gov makes it easy to find a vaccine location near you. It provides information on the location’s name, address and vaccine availability and on what ages they are able to vaccinate. It also provides easy links to the location’s booking site and contact information.

What To Know Before You Get Your Vaccination

A COVID-19 vaccine can help reduce your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. If you do become infected, the vaccination may make it less severe. COVID-19 vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to let you build an immunity to the particular type of coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Make sure you have your red, white and blue Medicare card with you when you go to get your COVID-19 shot. The doctor, hospital, pharmacy or any other health care provider will need it to bill Medicare.

You’ll need your Medicare card even if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan rather than Original Medicare.

You may have to fill out a form before you get your vaccine. If you have Medicare Part B, leave the line blank or write in “N/A” when the form asks for your “Group Number.”

Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Medicare Scams

Be aware of possible Medicare fraud and scams when you are signing up for or looking for information about COVID-19 vaccinations.

Medicare consumers have already filed complaints about fraud schemes surrounding COVID-19 vaccine distribution and both Medicare and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have warned Medicare beneficiaries to be on the lookout for scams.

Scammers have used the high demand for vaccine access to try to steal people’s personal information or money from people seeking COVID-19 shots.

FBI Tips to Avoid COVID-19 Vaccination Scams
  • Check your state’s health department website to confirm vaccination sites
  • Check www.fda.gov to make sure a promised vaccine has received FDA authorization
  • Check with your primary care doctor before scheduling your vaccine appointment
  • Never share any personal information with anyone over the phone or internet unless you know them and they are trusted medical professionals
  • Review your medical bills, explanation of benefits or your Medicare Summary Notice and check for suspicious items billed to Medicare

If you think you’ve been the victim of a Medicare fraud or scam — whether it involves the COVID-19 vaccines or any other medical service or product — report it immediately to Medicare and law enforcement.

You can call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 (TTY at 1-877-486-2048) and ask for a customer service representative. You can also call the FBI at 1-800-225-5324 or your local police department or sheriff.

Last Modified: October 23, 2023

13 Cited Research Articles

  1. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2023, October 16). Overview of COVID-19 Vaccines. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/overview-COVID-19-vaccines.html
  2. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2023, October 12). 2024 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2024-medicare-parts-b-premiums-and-deductibles
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, September 29). Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect.html
  4. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibodies. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/monoclonal
  5. Berg, S. (2021, January 27). How to Help Your Patients Avoid COVID-19 Vaccine Scams. Retrieved from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/how-help-your-patients-avoid-covid-19-vaccine-scams
  6. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2021, January 6). Medicare COVID-19 Vaccine Shot Payment. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/medicare/covid-19/medicare-covid-19-vaccine-shot-payment
  7. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2020, December 21). Federal Agencies Warn of Emerging Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/federal-agencies-warn-of-emerging-fraud-schemes-related-to-covid-19-vaccines
  8. Cubanski, J. and Freed, M. (2020, December 4). FAQs on Medicare Coverage and Costs Related to COVID-19 Testing and Treatment. Retreived from https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/faqs-on-medicare-coverage-and-costs-related-to-covid-19-testing-and-treatment/
  9. O’Brien, S. (2020, October 29). Medicare Will Cover Early Vaccines for COVID. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/29/medicare-will-cover-early-vaccines-for-covid-.html
  10. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, August 6). State and Territorial Health Department Websites. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html
  11. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-vaccine
  12. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Medicare and Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus
  13. Vaccines.gov. (n.d.). Find a COVID-19 Vaccine Near You. Retrieved from https://www.vaccines.gov/