Update on Medicare and Whooping Cough Vaccination

Update on Medicare and Whooping Cough Vaccination

With a rise in whooping cough cases in many states, we’ve been getting more questions about Medicare coverage for whooping cough treatment and vaccination.

To answer about treatment, if someone has whooping cough (also known as pertussis), then yes, Medicare would cover any treatment that is deemed medically reasonable and necessary.

As for vaccination, many Medicare Part D plans do cover Tdap tetanus booster, which is considered the best protection for adults who are at risk of exposure.  Part D plans categorize it as a Tier 2 or 3 or 4 drug. If you are interested in getting a tetanus booster, contact your Part D plan to confirm coverage.

Because the population most vulnerable to whooping cough is infants and children, it’s not recommended for everyone to get vaccinated. The Center for Disease Control advises that people 65 and older only receive one dose of the vaccination if they have close contact with infants and have never had it before. See the CDC website for more information on pertussis.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.