When it comes time for flu season, many seniors get their flu shot as a preventative measure. Flu season begins in November and lasts through about April. The flu’s symptoms consist of cough, fever, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, and headaches. If you’re over 65, the flu can be dangerous and even life-threatening, depending on how you recover from it. In the 2018 and 2019 flu seasons, 42.9 million people got sick. The CDC recommends getting our annual flu shot to prevent the flu and flu complications.
Does Medicare Cover the Flu Shot?
So, does Medicare cover the flu shot? If you’re 65 years old and eligible for Medicare, Medicare will cover your seasonal flu shot. Not every Medicare program will cover a flu shot. Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans cover your flu shot if the provider accepts Medicare.
Medicare Part B covers preventative services. It will cover one shot per season but could cover a second shot if deemed medically necessary. When you get your flu shot, you should call ahead of time to make sure they accept Medicare. That way, you won’t be stuck with any unexpected bills post flu shots.
Medicare Part B
Part B is known as your preventative services. It covers shots, vaccinations, and shots for treatment for injury or illness. Part B is optional coverage for Medicare – if you’re still working past 65 with creditable coverage, some people choose to delay this coverage. Suppose you decide not to enroll in Part B without creditable coverage. In that case, you will need to pay a late enrollment penalty if you choose to enroll down the road and you will pay the full cost of your flu vaccine until you enroll in Part B.
Medicare Advantage Plans
When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan you will get your Part A and Part B benefits through your plan. The flu shot is covered since Medicare Advantage plans have those Part B benefits. Certain Medicare Advantage plans also have prescription drug coverage. You can sign up for Part D coverage during your enrollment period.
Are Flu Shots Free?
The flu shot is free for Medicare enrollees who have Medicare Part B, a Medicare Advantage plan, or Part D plan. If you do not have the right Medicare coverage that covers the shot, you might have to pay an out-pocket-cost. That cost is to be determined by the provider.
What to Expect After a Flu Shot?
After receiving your flu shot from the provider or pharmacy that accepts Medicare, you may begin feeling some side effects. These are flu shot side effects if you start feeling headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, or injection site irritation. It is not clear who will get side effects, but studies have shown that the risk of the flu shot’s side effects outweighs the risk of flu complications. Side effects should subside within a few days. Consult your doctor if you feel uncomfortable after the shot and want to take over-the-counter pain medication.
Flu season is when many people prepare and go to get their flu shot. Ensure you have the right Medicare coverage of either Part B, Part D, or a Medicare Advantage plan. It is also recommended to check and make sure the provider or pharmacy accepts Medicare as insurance, so you will not be left with the bill. Your doctor may additionally try to recommend services that Medicare won’t cover. Make sure Medicare covers each service you receive before you receive it. You may experience some side effects from the flu shot after, but they outweigh the risk of flu complications. If you feel uncomfortable after the shot, you can consult your doctor to see if you should take an over-the-counter pain medication. Stay safe and healthy!