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Inexpensive Shingle Vaccine
updated: Feb 20, 2013, 5:04 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Has anyone in Edhatlandia run into this situation?

I have reached that magic age of 60+. I do have HMO coverage but am not yet medicare eligible. My Sansum primary doc gave me a prescription that can only be used at the Sansum pharmacy for the Zoster (SHINGLES) vaccine.

I dutifully checked with my HMO insurance prior to trotting off to the Sansum pharmacy and was told that if my doctor administered the vaccine in the office there would be NO charge and NO copay because it would be a "preventative in office service".

However, Sansum has a "policy" of having the patient purchase the vaccine at Sansum's pharmacy and charges $200 plus. Then a designated nurse administers the vaccine to the purchaser. My insurance said that method of delivery would NOT be covered or reimbursed! I am getting hives just thinking about what a rotten deal this is! My primary doctor has to tow the policy line of course.

It bugs me to be paying for the insurance, and the insurance is ACTUALLY WILLING to cover something, but have our predominant health provider in Santa Barbara present a "policy" that won't utilize the benefit and results in such a high cost to the patient.

Has anyone out there found a work around to this or a less expensive shingle vaccine source in Santa Barbara area?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 376794 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 05:25 PM

I don't have a source for you, but just thought I'd pass this on...the vaccine keeps most people over 40 from getting shingles about 15-20% of the time. Which means it's not really like it protects you from shingles. Also, if you have ever had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin (or any mycin relative antibiotic) you should avoid this vaccine since it is considered a cross allergen. (Most doctors will tell you this before you get the shot and let you research your medical history a bit, but if you go to a clinic you might not get this very important information so I figured it was worth mentioning.)

Good luck finding someplace cheap if you decide you really need this shot!


 COMMENT 376799 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 05:38 PM

Maybe, 794, you could've double checked your numbers before you spewed misinformation.

The efficacy rate for the OP's age group is around 64%. Sixty-Four Percent. That is based on a clinical trial that involved over 38,000 patients.

As to the $200 cost, I would double check with my HMO and ensure that I heard right. I can't imagine an HMO _not_ covering this shot in total.

The price is the same just about everywhere. The variance in price for cash purchase is only about $10 no matter where you go, generally. There's some places that charge $250.


 COMMENT 376800 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 05:39 PM

I disagree wholeheartedly w/ the previous response (#376794). If you have ever had a friend or family member get shingles and the resulting long term after effects, you know that getting the shingle vaccine is really a good move. However, it costs $200 and that is that.


 COMMENT 376806 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 05:45 PM

Wait, you were given a prescription that can only be filled at Sansum? That seems wrong (potentially illegal?)... Maybe I'm just confused. Your insurance says that they'll pay for you get the vaccine given by your doc in office. But your doc says that it's his policy to have Sansum nurses give the vaccine & he can't do it (& therefore insurance won't cover anything). Did I understand this right? It seems wrong & convoluted. I can't image it's correct - maybe you should call Sansum & try to talk to someone about policy.
If you're simply looking for a cheaper vaccine, call Costco, they usually have great prices. Call around to various pharmacies just to check on prices, but call Costco first.


 COMMENT 376814 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 05:58 PM

I got mine at Costco. I believe my insurance paid the whole cost.


 COMMENT 376820 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 06:07 PM

Isn't shingles caused by recrudesence of dormant chicken pox virus from previous (probably childhood) infection? Would not the natural infection already have elicited antibody production against the virus. Why would a vaccine (post-infection) make any difference at all?


 COMMENT 376825P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 06:18 PM

My doc told me the $200 was the drug company charge, and apologized for the high price. There was no way she could go lower.


 LTK agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 06:44 PM

I believe most insurance's cover the shingles vaccine if you are age 60 or older. CVS directed me to Sansum as they do not carry the vaccine. It was $205.00 at Sansum last week.


 COMMENT 376856P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 06:57 PM

You might check Goleta Walgreens, my mom had hers done at one (out of state) and it was done in house cost $50 with copay but she is over 65 don't know if that figured in.


 COMMENT 376874 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 07:16 PM

I got mine at CostCo.

I'm NOT a member there. They took me anyway (I think they HAVE to, by law).

My doctor recommended them and told me they'd do it for way less than it COST him.


 COMMENT 376878 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 07:23 PM

After trying unsuccessfully to get my insurance company to pay for the shot, I got mine at Costco. My husband, brother, father, and grandmother all had shingles and they suffered horribly. My understanding is that even if you get shingles after the shot, it will be a much milder case than if you hadn't gotten vaccinated.
My insurance company declined to cover me as I am not yet 60. However, both my husband and my brother were under 60 when they came down with shingles.


 COMMENT 376919 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 08:32 PM

I had shingles (Age 53) over the holidays, get the shot no matter how much it costs.


 COMMENT 376920P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 08:41 PM

I have Health Net through UCSB. When I heard they lowered the required age down from 60, I asked my Sansum Primary for the vaccination. It was covered under insurance. I did pick it up from the pharmacy, and then it was given my the lady at Sansum in the Clinic that does Travel Vaccinations. No charge to me.


 COMMENT 376936P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 10:06 PM

You people that had it done at Costco-- How much did it cost you? Did you have insurance or did you pay out of pocket?


 INQUIRING MIND agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-20 10:53 PM

My wife and I are over 70. We both had the vaccine several years ago at Sansum. She is diabetic and did not have to pay for the vaccine. I had to pay $50.

She contracted Shingles last year and had a serious case.


 COMMENT 376955 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 06:41 AM

My insurance company (Anthem PPO) covered it, since I was 55 or over.

My dad had shingles and it was absolutely miserable for him. I got the shot to improve my odds of avoiding it.


 COMMENT 376964 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 07:15 AM

If you have Medicare you can get it at Rite Aid. Mine was less than $20


 COMMENT 376973 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 07:28 AM

Check out Rite Aid. I had a flu shot there, no charge with my health insurance coverage. Don't know what the charge for shingles vacs. Worth checking out.


 STRAY agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 07:52 AM

When I turned 60 years old, my doctor ordered the shingles immunication, I paid $200 to the Sansum pharmacy, and the nurse gave me the shot. I had health insurance, but was told that it didn't cover this process.

Weighing the possibility of avoiding having shingles for even one day, it was the best money I've ever spent.


 COMMENT 376995P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 08:04 AM

Another vote for Costco, although mine (three years ago) wasn't covered by Medicare at that time; not sure about now. Even if you were in the percentage that developed shingles after the shot, it would be less severe than if you didn't have the shot. Good luck.


 COMMENT 377008P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 08:24 AM

Costco. Worth every penny. Shingles is excruciating and can cause permanent damage.


 COMMENT 377029 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 08:54 AM

my doctor told me she was giving me the shot no matter what, I did not protest because I watched my mother go through a tough time with shingles. She had cancer and was so stressed that the shingles erupted, and she said it was more painful than the cancer, so I gladly took the shot, $300 and Blue Cross paid $145, I'd rather pay than pain!


 ANNA58 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 09:13 AM

Costco. My cost was around $70.00 after insurance. Worth it! Even if you get shingles after the shot, symptoms are greatly reduced.


 COMMENT 377040 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 09:16 AM

I saw a sign in the window at Walgreen's in Goleta, for Shingles Vaccine.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 09:38 AM

I think you only need the shot if you'd had chicken pox, that's the virus in your body that causes it. It's amazing to me that something you had as a kid can hang around 'til you're a senior. I got the shot, luckily insurance covered it. It has to stay cold, so I picked it up at the pharmacy and rushed to my doctor w/it in a cooler. The pharmasist has to have a certain liscense to give you the shot.


 COMMENT 377061 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 10:04 AM

You can get a rebate of up to $140 on the cost of your shot from the drug company if you meet certain criteria. Go to the Zostavax website for information. Zostavax is produced by Merck. The actual area of the website is (I'll try to do this w/out posting an actual link, which I am not able to do): rebate4zostavax (with a dot com on the end). Hope this helps!!

I went to Costco - worked great!


 COMMENT 377074 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 10:45 AM

I know the Op is asking for Vaccine info on a shot they want. I do want to make it clear there is a percentage of the population waking up to big Pharma and vaccines. Google it and read. Dr Judyth Vary Baker is a good place to start.

My Nana got shingles after her vaccine and that is what started me researching vaccines.


 COMMENT 377078 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 10:58 AM

I had my singles shot at Rite-Aid and the $199.99 was picked up by my HMO. Originally they said they would not honor it if it wasn't administered by an M.D. but he called the HMO offices, spoke to someone and it was covered. I had to front the money and send any and all receipts to the HMO and one month later I received a check for every penny of the cost.


 COMMENT 377092 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 11:29 AM

I had similar situation - my HMO covered if prescribed by Dr. I also go to Sansum. Rx had to be filled by Prescription Pharmacy at Pesetas Lane then walked to procedure office (2nd floor of clinic, I believe) where it was administered. No cost to me. It is a frozen vaccine, so is not stored at Dr. offices. You do have to make an appointment with procedure office, and get vaccine right before it is administered.


 COMMENT 377120 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 12:24 PM

I checked Costco via my insurance that the shot is free. Costco suggested that we reserve doses that were coming in. Ask that your prescription be rewritten. Shopping around is a good idea. We don't know your HMO's limitations.


 SUMMERTIME agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 07:21 PM

I got my shingles shot at Samsum in July, 2012. I have medicare and supplemental insurance and my cost was $80.


 COMMENT 377292P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-21 08:31 PM

Whatever it costs get the shot! It is worth it to prevent or reduce the effects of shingles and the possible after effects. My husband had shingles 5 or 6 years ago and has had persistant and devastating "postherpatic pain" from the nerve damage. It changed our lives dramaticly. We do not enjoy life as we did before and our activities are limited. I know it is a little complicated and/or expensive but do it anyway.


 DOG MOM agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 12:07 AM

i got mine last December @ CostCo. for $171.00 with the CostCo. member discount (non-CostCo. member cost is $180.00) & the pharmacist did it quickly, in a side room for vaccinations. I called Walgreen's, Eastside Clinic, Rite-Aid, Sansum, maybe some other sites in SB/Goleta...cost was between low of $180 at CostCo. and up to $240 (?
Rite-Aid on the Mesa). The vaccine requires refrigeration, which narrows down the number of sites offering it.

The vaccination is a one time injection, no boosters needed. It is much cheaper financially than the cost for meds to control of months of uncomfortable symptoms, as well as the disruption in a person's usual activities and possible wardrobe choices till the Shingles resolves itself. My mother worked with an older woman who had so much discomfort with clothing rubbing areas of her skin, she was wearing tent dresses for over a year.


 DOG MOM agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-22 12:15 AM

Addition to comment: I did not need a prescription but the CostCo. Pharmacy did ask my primary care physician's name and faxed the information to the MD that the client had been given the Zostavax. Some people may have drug coverage that will pay for this vaccine or can use the cost to apply toward their deductible.


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