August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual initiative sponsored by the National Public Health Information Council (NPHIC) to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations recommended for them. Vaccinations can help you protect your health as well as the health of your loved ones and community.
How vaccines help you, your children, and the community
Did you know that vaccines save more lives than seat belts in the United States? Vaccination is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy.
Vaccines are important at all ages. Here’s why:
- Vaccination allows children to gain immunity without having to get sick from the real diseases
- Immunization of children helps the overall community by protecting those who are too young or are medically unable to be vaccinated
- Adults are at risk for different diseases than children, and it is important to keep up with immunizations because vaccines can wear off over time
- Booster shots are necessary in continuing the effectiveness of the original vaccine
- If we stopped vaccinating, diseases that are essentially gone may come back, and we are likely to eventually see epidemics of diseases that vaccines prevent today
Vaccines are essential to maintaining the safety of our community. Wellness and preventive care is the first step to healthy living, and vaccines are important to keep in mind when choosing a health insurance plan.
Understanding potential coverage options
No matter which style of plan you choose, it is important to take advantage of preventive benefits and remember to get immunized.
- Affordable Care Act medical coverage: This type of plan provides coverage for pre-existing conditions and preventive care for individuals and families. They also provide the minimum essential coverage required by the ACA. There are subsidies available that may lower costs and annual options to change plans. Vaccines are required to be included among the covered preventive services in ACA plans.
- Short-term medical: This type of plan provides benefits for a specific time period. They’re typically used during times of transition, such as graduating college, waiting for employer insurance to being, or waiting for Medicare coverage to become effective. These plans have a range of deductibles, copays, and cost sharing options to fit you or your family’s budget and lifestyle needs. You may find these plans to be useful for vaccines because they can provide you access to wellness/preventive care visits. Note: they typically do not cover pre-existing conditions.
- Health benefit insurance: HBI plans (otherwise known as limited medical benefit plans) can be useful if you who are looking to supplement your major medical coverage or are not able to afford major medical insurance. These plans provide pre-determined cash benefits based on a covered service. They may also provide little to no waiting periods, which may be useful for a loved one who is need of benefits sooner rather than later. They are not comprehensive medical plans and are not intended to replace a major medical plan.
Disclaimer: STM and HBI plans do not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and are not suitable to serve as sole medical coverage. They are not sufficient forms of coverage to avoid facing a tax penalty. Review any terms, conditions, limitations, and/or restrictions carefully prior to any purchasing decision.
Learn more about how vaccines can protect your family
Get involved in National Immunization Awareness Month and learn more about how to best protect you and your family as well as to raise awareness in your community by visiting https://www.nphic.org/niam-resources.
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“Vaccines & Immunizations” https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/howvpd.htm.
“Immunization Resources” https://www.nphic.org/niam-resources.
“Traffic Safety Facts” https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811383.
“Vaccines bring 7 diseases under control” https://www.unicef.org/pon96/hevaccin.htm.