Does My Health Insurance Cover Flu Shots And Vaccinations?

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Jessica Fox 04-05-2021

health insurance

Nobody likes getting sick, least of all coming down with the flu.

Back to school and the autumn marks the arrival of cold and flu season and one of the best preventative measures you can take is getting the flu shot. This is also true for immunizations for preventable diseases like measles. 

However, for some people, the deciding factor comes down to cost. If you currently have health insurance or are in the market for coverage, it may come as a relief knowing that most flu shots and vaccinations are covered.

Why You Need The Flu Shot?

If you want to stop the spread of the flu and protect your family and community, the best prevention is getting the flu shot. The CDC recommends that come early Fall (September-October), everybody 6 months or older receives the flu shot. This is especially important for vulnerable groups: if you’re 65+, a young child, pregnant, have heart or kidney disease, diabetes, or asthma.

How Much Does The Flu Shot Cost?

How much you’ll spend on getting a flu shot ultimately depends on your coverage. If you don’t have a qualifying health plan, the average cost for the flu shot is $32 if you receive it at your doctor’s office or $24 at participating pharmacies. 

There are also government-funded programs dedicated to providing the flu shot at no charge or discounted rates to those without coverage; some such programs are:

  • Government Funded Health Centers: These centers provide free or sliding scale pricing (based on income) for flu shots and various other vaccines. 
  • Vaccines For Children (VFC): Vaccines are free to children under the age of 18 that meet 1 or more of these criteria:
    • Eligible for Medicaid
    • Alaska Native or American Indian
    • Underinsured (providers won’t cover vaccinations)
    • They don’t have medical insurance 

However, suppose you do have a qualifying health plan. In that case, your insurance provider must cover the cost without having to bill you as a copay or coinsurance, so long as you go to a designated in-network provider.

How Much Do Vaccines Cost?

Most comprehensive medical insurance plans cover immunizations because they are considered a preventative measure. With that said, most medical insurance providers will cover the cost of your shots, but depending on your coverage, you may have to pay a deductible, copay or coinsurance.

The cost per vaccine depends on the shot type (e.g., HPV, measles), so if you don’t have medical coverage, this means the expense falls on you.

Does My Health Insurance Cover Flu Shots And Vaccinations?

There are many health insurance providers, so we can’t say every provider covers all vaccinations; however, most comprehensive plans will. Subpar or underinsured plans may not cover the entire expense or even the partial cost of immunizations. If you’re in the market for health insurance and plan to get your regular flu shot, be sure to ask prospective providers if they cover the cost of immunizations. 

If you’re unsure of your medical insurance policy on shots, call your insurance company and find out.

Where Can I Get My Flu Shot?

If you’re interested in getting your flu shot, there are a few locations where you can receive your seasonal vaccine.

  • Doctors Office: You can often book your flu shot by calling your family physician and booking an appointment. This is a popular way of getting the flu shot, so if you’re concerned about getting yours early, remember to book your appointment well in advance.
  • Participating Pharmacies: Before you walk into a pharmacy, call to see if they accept your medical insurance plan. If they do, be sure to bring your insurance ID card with you. For those with insufficient coverage or no coverage, you can still receive your shot at a pharmacy; you’ll just have to pay out-of-pocket for it.
  • Schools: Frequently, to help prevent the flu, schools will hold mass immunization clinics in-house.
  • Workplaces: In the same way schools offer immunization clinics, many workplaces will do the same to help keep their workforce free of the flu.

Does My Health Insurance Cover Immunizations?

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to contend with viruses, so we’d be free to live a healthy, happy life. Fortunately, with all the medical advancements, we are lucky to have vaccinations to help protect us from preventable diseases like the seasonal flu.

Jessica FoxJessica Fox has been a freelance writer for five years, with a specialty in health, wellness, and insurance. During this time, she’s written for some of the biggest B2B and B2C brands from around the world. Jessica is also the mother of two young daughters and loves coffee, writing, and working out.