www.Medtipster.com Source: Navitus Clinical Blog, 10.23.13
It’s that time of year again! You may want to encourage your members to get their flu shots for the upcoming season. It’s important to remember that our immune system loses strength as we age. Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months (with a few exceptions) receives an immunization. Those over the age of 50 are particularly susceptible to complications from the flu, especially residents of nursing homes or other care facilities.
In addition to being a wise investment for good health, preventive measures against the flu also result in reduced health care costs. According to the CDC, more than 64 percent of Americans did not receive flu immunizations in 2012, even though the vaccine proved to be 62 percent effective. This means that persons who received the vaccination were 62 percent less likely to develop the flu than those who did not. During an average flu season, the CDC estimates that the flu complications cost employers $10.4 billion in hospitalization and outpatient visits.
If you already have a Vaccination Program in place, remind members about its availability. If you don’t offer this program to your members, please consider the following:
Vaccinations are available at retail pharmacies, thus saving clients and their members the cost of clinic or physician fees. Not only is this delivery channel more cost-effective, but many members find it more convenient as well.
Three different vaccination offerings are typically available:
- Influenza only
- Influenza, pneumonia, and tetanus/pertussis
- All vaccines, including shingles
Two of the most commonly offered vaccines are for influenza and pneumonia. Clients may also offer vaccines for tetanus, hepatitis, shingles, measles, mumps, HPV (human papillomavirus), pertussis, varicella and meningitis. Vaccinations typically cost between $25 and $35, plus the pharmacy dispensing fee.
Because vaccinations are considered a preventative service under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), vaccines must be offered to members at a $0 copay.