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does Medicare cover rabies shots

Does Medicare Cover Rabies Vaccine?

Rabies is often contracted by getting bitten by a rabid animal. The virus lives in the infected animal’s saliva or brain/nervous system tissue. This is quite a serious virus that can be a threat to a person’s life if left untreated. The good news is, there are vaccines to treat this virus.

So a common question many people have is, “does Medicare cover rabies vaccine?” In this article, we answer the question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of rabies vaccines and other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Rabies Vaccine?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of administration of rabies vaccines. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your rabies vaccine administration. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for rabies vaccine administration. Coverage for rabies vaccines falls under Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B will provide coverage for rabies vaccines if you are exposed to the rabies virus such as getting bitten by a dog or wild animal. 

Part C and Part D Coverage for Rabies Vaccine

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for rabies vaccines. Part C plans must cover everything that Original Medicare covers. However these plans usually cover a number of other things that Original Medicare does not. The extra benefits and coverage each Part C plan offers differs depending on the plan you have.

Coverage for most types of commercially available vaccines is primarily provided by Medicare Part D. However, Medicare Part D plans also provide coverage for vaccines that are covered by Medicare Part B, including rabies vaccines. Medicare Part D is a prescription drug plan, and just like Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D plans are provided by private insurance companies.

100 percent of both Medicare Part C and Part D plans provide coverage for rabies vaccines. 

How Much Do Rabies Vaccines Cost?

Rabies vaccination may cost somewhere from $500 to $1,200. That price range includes the vaccine administration itself, the consultation fee, and the cost of the three required doses. 

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus commonly found in wild animals, such as unvaccinated dogs, unvaccinated cats, bats, raccoons, and skunks. This virus can be transmitted to humans, usually when an animal bites them. People usually get rabies from bites from an unvaccinated dog. 

If not treated immediately, rabies can be a fatal virus. The virus’s symptoms may show weeks or even years after transmission.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover Fasenra?

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