Health care costs are a concern for everyone, especially older adults. That is why it is important to focus on preventive care to ensure that costly chronic diseases and other health complications that can avoided. One important form of preventive care is ensuring that our immunizations are up-to-date at every stage of our life.
While many associate getting vaccinated with babies and children, immunizations are just as important for older adults as they are for younger age groups. This is especially true for Hispanic older adults, who tend to get immunized at lower rates. (To see which vaccinations are recommended for people ages 65 and older in Spanish, click here.)
For those who may be concerned with the cost of vaccines, there may be opportunities to get certain immunizations at a low cost or for free. Since the Affordable Care Act passed two years ago this month, new health plans must cover preventive services and eliminate cost sharing, such as the co-pays and deductibles patients pay for certain services. Therefore, those who are insured may have free vaccine coverage. However, before going to see a health care provider to get vaccinated, it is always recommendable to check your health plan coverage.
For those who are uninsured, there is information about health plans at www.HealthCare.gov. Also, Medicare beneficiaries have access to certain vaccines. Medicare will pay for part or all of the influenza (flu) , pneumococcal (pneumonia) and hepatitis B immunizations. To learn more about the vaccines Medicare covers, visit www.Medicare.gov.
Vacunémonos (Let’s Get Vaccinated) is a culturally, linguistically, and age sensitive community intervention that aims at increasing adult vaccination rates among Hispanics.