I’m a firm believer in flu shots. I’ve been getting one every year since the late 1990s, and I rarely ever even get a case of the sniffles. But flu shots can be costly if you don’t know where to check for bargains. With the flu spreading throughout the country, here are some tips.
Ask your employer. To cut down on sick days, employers frequently offer flu shots at no cost to their employees. If you’re employed, ask someone in your company’s human resources department if flu shots will be offered this season.
Check with your insurance company. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, all insurance plans that were created after March 23, 2010, are required to provide some types of preventive care, including immunizations, for free beginning September 23, 2012. If you have a new employer, or your employer recently switched insurance plans, call to find out if flu shots are covered.
Talk to your doctor. If you have Medicare Part B, your flu shot should be free. If you have private insurance, you may be able to get a flu shot either free or for the price of a copay. Even if you don’t think flu shots are covered by your insurance, ask the billing department at your doctor’s office to call and find out.
Look for free or low-cost flu clinics or events. Some hospitals or other health care organizations offer flu shot clinics where they will give free or low-cost flu shots to the public on a first-come-first-served basis. For example, the University of Kansas Hospital has a free drive-thru flu shot event every October. Many state or local health departments also offer free flu shot clinics. But keep in mind, you’ll need to get there early and you’ll likely wait in line. To find a flu shot clinic in your area, check your local Living on the Cheap site and your local newspaper, plus search for your local health department online.
Try a drugstore or supermarket. Here are the current deals:
- CVS: $29.99. You’ll also get a 20% off shopping pass (except in N.J.) while supplies last.
- Walgreens: $32.
- Costco: $20.
- Rite-Aid: $27.99. You’ll also get a coupon book with $100 worth of store coupons (except in N.J.).
- Walmart: $25
- Winn-Dixie: $24.99. You’ll also get a coupon book with $15 worth of store coupons (while supplies last).