Medicare encourages flu shots


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wants all beneficiaries to be immunized against the various forms of influenza threatening Americans this fall and winter.

Medicare, a health insurance program for the elderly and people with disabilities, and Medicaid, which covers low income families, pay for the regular seasonal flu shots and immunization for the new H1N1 flu strain, sometimes referred to as “swine flu.”

Most people will need both shots, although children and pregnant women are high priority for the H1N1 vaccine and for the seasonal flu vaccine.

As part of this concern, CMS is distributing a fact sheet for Medicare beneficiaries and another for those enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s’ Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Both fact sheets have been posted on the CMS Web site, They also are being sent to physician offices and other health care providers, professional associations, patient and consumer advocacy groups and others.

The fact sheets give helpful information on flu symptoms and what to do if you develop them, priority lists of those groups most in need of immunization, what’s covered, and where to get more information.

The fact sheets can be found at these Web links:

– Medicaid and CHIP version:

– Medicare:

It is so important when you are already sick and fighting everyday to do everything else you can do to keep yourself healthy. H1N1 is not something we should be messing around with. You need to be proactive in your prevention. Make sure the ones you live with get the shot also.