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.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.