How to Save on Flu Shots
Flu season is quickly approaching - now is the perfect time to get vaccinated and protect yourself. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months and older. This is the most effective way to prevent influenza.
How Much Does a Flu Shot Cost?
The price of a flu shot can range from $0 to $60 or more. If you have health insurance, it will likely cover most (if not all) of the cost. However, be aware of hidden fees. Even if your flu shot is covered by your insurance, you may have to pay for the office visit or administration of the shot. Check to make sure your insurance covers this too.
If you’re not insured or underinsured, you may be tempted to skip the shot this year to save money. Luckily, there are still ways to get a cheap or free flu shot without insurance.
Where Can I Get a Free Flu Shot?
The federal government has made an effort to provide flu shots to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them. Additionally, many pharmacies and clinics are starting to offer flu shots at affordable out-of-pocket prices. Here are some places where you can get a free or cheap flu shot.
Community Health Clinics
Many community health clinics are funded by the state or federal government. Their mission is to provide affordable or even free healthcare, including flu vaccines. You may pay for services on a sliding scale based on your income or receive them at no charge. Also check with your local county health department to see if they are providing free flu shots at local clinics.
Vaccines for Children Program
The CDC administers a program called Vaccines for Children (VFC) that provides free vaccines for eligible children under age 19. If you are uninsured, underinsured, Medicaid-eligible, or an American Indian or Alaska Native, you can use VFC to vaccinate your children against the flu.
Urgent Care Clinics
Although many people go to their primary care physician to receive the flu shot, urgent care clinics are offering the vaccine as well. You may be able to find a lower out-of-pocket cost at one of these clinics.
Chain pharmacies like CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, Costco and Rite Aid offer flu shots at affordable out-of-pocket costs. You will generally pay about $20-$40 for the quadrivalent flu vaccine at a chain pharmacies, sometimes more. The higher dose for seniors is more expensive, but seniors age 65+ are eligible for Medicare (which completely covers the flu vaccine).
Also be aware that you might not be able to get your children vaccinated at a pharmacy. Some states do not allow pharmacies to vaccinate children under 18 without a prescription. However, more states are starting to lower that age so parents have more opportunities to vaccinate their children against the flu.
Your Employer or School
Check with your employer to see if they are offering free flu vaccines this season. Many companies offer this as an additional benefit for their employees, regardless of insurance coverage.
If you’re a college student, your school probably offers free flu vaccines as well. Visit your student health center or check the school website.
Other Ways to Save on Flu Costs
If you do get the flu this season, remember to stay home and rest. Symptoms can often be treated with home remedies and over the counter medications. If necessary, your doctor may recommend an antiviral. The costs of treating the flu can add up. Save on antivirals, OTC fever reducers, cough suppressants, and more with America’s Pharmacy.