FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Immunizations against the H1N1 virus will soon be available, and people are eager to take precautions. Tricare Prime, Standard and Extra beneficiaries can get their shots from network and non-network providers without paying a deductible or making a co-payment.
A temporary waiver allows retired Tricare Prime enrollees to get the H1N1 immunization from non-network providers without a referral or authorization, eliminating point-of-service charges. Prime enrollees will not be charged a co-payment or cost share.
Tricare for Life beneficiaries must follow Medicare rules regarding H1N1 vaccine. Medicare will pay for administering the H1N1 vaccine, but not the H1N1 vaccine itself if it is supplied to providers free of charge. Payment will be subject to normal billing and payment rules that apply to influenza vaccine.
Preventive medicine is a very important part of Tricare's goal of keeping retirees and families healthy, said Rear Adm. Christine Hunter, deputy director of the Tricare Management Activity.
"To that end, we make getting vaccinated as convenient and affordable as possible," she said. "Beneficiaries should talk to their primary care manager if they have any questions about the H1N1 vaccine or other vaccines."
The vaccine for the seasonal flu is not expected to protect against H1N1, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials; therefore, immunization for the 2009 H1N1 strain is recommended. Both vaccines can be administered on the same day.
Officials with CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that everyone get the H1N1 vaccine, but for certain groups the vaccination is more critical. These include:
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months;
- Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel;
- Everyone between the ages of 6 months and 24 years;
- People ages 25 through 64 with chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems; and
- Older people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma or HIV.