Are Flu Shots Covered By Medicare?
It depends on where you live. Medicare Part A covers flu shots only if they are received at a hospital inpatient setting or outpatient hospital clinic. Most preventive care is covered as outpatient care. Medicare Part B does not cover flu shots, but Part B beneficiaries with Medicare Advantage plans may have the shots covered.
What if I have a Medicare Advantage plan?
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it may cover the cost of the flu shot. This depends on the plan. Your benefits will be listed on the Summary of Benefits and Coverage, which you should have received before you enrolled in the plan. You can also call your plan administrator or your plan's customer service number to find out. If you think you will need preventive services, contact your plan before the end of December to see if the plan will cover the flu shot this season.
What is the difference between Medicare Part A and Part B?
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance, which helps pay for covered services in hospitals, including care in the hospital's outpatient department, such as for lab tests, and for skilled care from doctors and nurses. Medicare Part B is medical insurance that covers outpatient services, such as doctor visits, lab tests, and other services from professionals who are not in the hospital.
How often can I get a flu shot?
It is recommended that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu shot every year.
If I get a flu shot, how long will it protect me from getting the flu?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. Flu viruses can change from one year to the next. The flu shot protects against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common during the upcoming flu season.
What side effects could I have from the flu shot?
Millions of people get the flu shot every year and most do not have any problems. Side effects are mild and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, and a low-grade fever. Some people may have headaches, muscle aches, or fevers. If you have a severe reaction to the flu shot, you should contact your doctor.
Each person may have a different reaction to the flu shot. Call your doctor if you have a mild reaction, especially if it is your first time getting a flu shot, or if you have a reaction that persists or gets worse.
What should I do if I get the flu after getting the flu shot?
Getting the flu shot every year is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Getting the flu shot does not give you complete protection against getting the flu. The best way to avoid the flu is by getting a flu shot and by practicing good health habits, like washing your hands often.
If you get the flu, talk to your doctor as soon as possible about treatment. Many people feel better within a few days of getting sick. Sometimes you may need antibiotics to treat secondary infections. People who are at high risk for serious flu complications should see their doctor right away.
Where can I get a flu shot?
You can get a flu shot at a doctor's office, clinic, health department, pharmacy, or hospital. Health care providers who give flu shots must have a permit from the state health department that is issued during the summer. Check with your doctor or clinic to find out if they give flu shots.
When should I get the flu shot?
It is best to get the flu shot before flu activity begins in your community. Some health care providers give the flu shot in late fall, but getting the flu shot in October and November will not protect you against getting flu during December, January and February. If you do not have a health care provider, contact your local health department for a place that may be able to give you a flu shot.
Who should not get the flu shot?
You should not get the flu shot if you:
have had a serious allergic reaction to influenza vaccine or any of its ingredients (which are gelatin, egg protein, antibiotics, and sometimes thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative)
have had Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks after getting a flu vaccine
have a severe allergy to latex
are moderately to severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled
Do not get the flu shot if you are pregnant. The flu shot is not recommended for women who are pregnant. However, getting the flu shot while you are pregnant can protect your newborn baby against the flu after he or she is born.
What should I do if I get the flu after I get the flu shot?
If you get the flu after getting the flu shot, you should first call your doctor. If your doctor tells you to go to the emergency room, tell the medical staff that you have recently received the flu shot.
Where can I get more information?
For more information about flu and the flu shot:
Contact your state health department.
To order free publications or call toll-free information lines about flu, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 1-877-690-1012 (voice) or 1-800-CDC-INFO.
For the most up-to-date information about flu and flu vaccine, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/flu.
For more information about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-877-690-1012).
For more information about Medicare Advantage plans, visit www.medicare.gov/medicare-advantage-plans/about-medicare-advantage-plans.html or call 1-877-690-1012.
This fact sheet was prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC