Now is the time to make sure that your elderly loved one’s have had their flu shots for the upcoming flu season. With the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to eliminate the chance of catching the flu as well, as it too can be lethal for the elderly.
Medicare Part B will cover a flu shot at Walmart. There is no deductible for flu shots, and as Walmart is Medicare-enrolled and accepts assignment, there will be no coinsurance to pay.
Contents Overview & Quicklinks
How much is a flu vaccine at Walmart if you have to pay ?
At Walmart without insurance, flu vaccines cost –
- quadrivalent flu vaccine – $38.99
- high dose flu vaccine – $74.00
What is the flu ?
Very briefly, the flu is a respiratory illness which is caused by Influenza Viruses A and B, and which is highly contagious.
In the first 3 -4 days of the illness an individual is at their most contagious, and may actually be spreading the flu to others even before they are aware that they have it themselves, and can continue to do so for a further 7 days after that.
For those of you who want to find out more, there is lots of information on the Centers for Disease and Prevention website here.
The groups of people at who are at the greatest risk from catching the flu are –
- the elderly
- young children under the age of 5
- people with certain underlying health conditions
Why should the elderly get flu shots ?
Each year in the United States, 9 out of 10 flu-related deaths and 6 out of 10 flu-related hospital stays occur among people aged 65+. An annual flu shot is one of the best preventive measures to help protect against the flu. The shot is available in both a regular strength dose and a high dose that provides extra immunity, which is often recommended for older adults.
The above text is taken from NCOA Center for Benefits Access – “Vaccines: What Medicare pays for” which you can read here.
As you get older the immune system is less able to defend your body against infections and viruses, and as such the older you are, the more likely you are to catch the flu when you come into contact with the influenza virus.
In addition to this, the older you are, the greater the chance that you will develop serious complications from the flu virus, for example pneumonia.
And over 65’s who have underlying health conditions are at an even greater risk of having serious complications, such as pneumonia.
Underlying health conditions which can put a person at increased risk of greater complications from flu include –
- heart disease
- asthma or COPD
- liver or kidney disease
- a compromised immune system
The immune system can be compromised by treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications, making it even more vulnerable to the flu virus.
It is important to note that you are protecting those around you when you get the flu shot.
So it is crucial for the caregivers, children and grandchildren of the elderly to get the vaccine each year.
What are the different types of flu vaccine ?
The different types of flu vaccine are –
- Quadrivalent Flue Vaccine – this will protect you against 4 different strains of the flu virus
- High Dose Flu Vaccine – this is for the over 65’s and contains 4 times the amount of antigens as a regular flu virus – the antigens are what helps the body build up its immune response to the virus
- Nasal Spray Vaccine – this is a vaccine which is administered as a nasal spray
- Adjuvanted Vaccine – this is another type of high dose vaccine for the over 65’s
- Cell-Based Flu Vaccines – these are grown in cultured cells rather than hen’s eggs
- Recombinant Flu Vaccines – vaccines which are made by a method which does not use egg-grown vaccine virus
this information is taken from the CDC website here – https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/different-flu-vaccines.htm
Does Medicare cover the quadrivalent flu vaccine ?
Quadrivalent flu vaccines are covered by Medicare Part B.
The following list of influenza quadrivalent vaccines is from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and are covered in the 2021-2022 flu season.
- Fluad Quadrivalent
- Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent
- Flucevax Quadrivalent
- FluMist Quadrivalent
- Flubok Quadrivalent
- Fluzone Quadrivalent
- Afluria Quadrivalent
- Fluarix Quadrivalent
- Flulaval Quadrivalent
The list can be found here on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
Does Medicare pay for flu shots at a pharmacy ?
One flu shot per season, is covered at pharmacies by Medicare Part B, if the pharmacy is Medicare-enrolled and accepts assignment.
In the case of the flu and pneumonia vaccines you do not have to pay a deductible, and if the pharmacy accepts assignment you do not have to pay any coinsurance.
A pharmacy which is Medicare-enrolled and accepts assignment should bill Medicare directly for you.
Be sure to ask the pharmacist to have the information on the vaccination forwarded to your primary care doctor so that your records can be updated.
Does Medicare pay for flu shots at Walgreens ?
Medicare Part B will cover a flu shot at Walgreens.
There is no deductible to pay for flu shots, and no coinsurance to pay, as Walgreens pharmacies are Medicare-enrolled and accept assignment.
Walgreens will bill Medicare on your behalf directly, and you have nothing to pay.
Walgreens on site flu shots
Which flu vaccines is Walgreens offering ?
On site Walgreens offers –
- quadrivalent flu vaccines
- high dose flu vaccines which are designed specifically for seniors 65 years and over
Don’t forget to take your insurance information, a photo ID, and to complete the assessment/consent form, in advance, and which you can find on and print out from the Walgreens website here.
You can read about the process on the Walgreens website here.
Schedule an appointment online
If you would rather not just walk in to a store and wait for an appointment for a flu shot, you can find a store and book an appointment for a flu shot using the Walgreens online store locator here.
You can also download the Informed Consent for Vaccination form here, and fill it out prior to your appointment to cut down your time in the pharmacy.
Don’t forget to take a valid ID and proof of your Medicare insurance.
Schedule an appointment with the Walgreens App
You can also schedule flu shots from Walgreens Find Care with the Walgreens App.
Don’t forget to download the Informed Consent for Vaccination form here, and fill it out before you go for your shot flu, to cut down the time in the pharmacy.
Don’t forget to take a valid ID and proof of your Medicare insurance.
You can walk in and get a flu shot without an appointment.
If you want, you can go online and download the Informed Consent for Vaccination form here, and fill it out prior to your appointment to cut down your time in the pharmacy.
You will also need to take a valid ID and proof of your Medicare Insurance.
Age limits for flu shots
Walgreens offer flu vaccines to all people over 4 years old – this is subject to state regulations.
How much is a flu shot at Walgreens without insurance ?
At Walgreens without insurance, flu vaccines cost –
- quadrivalent flu vaccine – $31.99
- high does flu vaccine – $54.00
Does Medicare cover flu shots at Rite Aid ?
If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, you will not have to pay for a flu vaccine at Rite Aid.
Rite Aid should bill Medicare directly for the flu shot, and you should have nothing to pay, this also means no deductible or coinsurance to pay to Medicare either.
Rite Aid on-site flu shots
Locate a Rite Aid pharmacy near you
To locate your nearest Rite Aid pharmacy, you can use the store locator on their website here, or call 1-800-RITE-AID.
Fill out an Immunization Consent Form in advance
If you wish to speed up your time in the pharmacy, you can go online and download the Immunization Screening and Consent Form, fill it out at home and have it ready for the pharmacist.
You can download the Rite Aid Immunization Screening and Consent Form here.
You can also look at the Rite Aid website page “Vaccine Central” which has some other information which you may wish to read about here.
Rite Aid is offering only walk-in appointments for flu shots, so you cannot book an appointment in advance, you just have to turn up.
Luckily for the elderly, they are offering special pharmacy hours to reduce the risk of catching Covid-19.
Schedule an appointment for a flu shot
Unfortunately you cannot schedule an appointment, only walk-in appointments are being given for flu shots.
To speed things up, though, you can download and fill out the Rite Aid Immunization Screening and Consent Form before you go to get your flu shot at Rite Aid, and you can get that here.
Which flu shots is Rite Aid offering ?
In 2021 Rite Aid is offering the following flu shots –
Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine – four strains of flu virus – influenza virus A H3N2, influenza virus A H1N1 and two strains of influenza B.
For the 65 yrs and over –
High Dose Flu Vaccine
How much is the flu vaccine at Rite Aid without insurance ?
Flu vaccine at Rite Aid without insurance costs –
- quadrivalent flu vaccine – $31.99
- high dose flu vaccine – $60.99
Does Medicare cover flu shots at Costco ?
If you have Medicare Part B, you will get your flu shot at Costco for free.
Costco’s pharmacies will bill Medicare directly, and you will have nothing to pay.
Locate a Costco pharmacy near you
To locate a Costco pharmacy near you – regardless of whether you want to reserve an appointment or just walk in for a shot – visit the Costco website here and use their store locator tool.
Schedule a flu shot appointment online at Costco
If you would like to make an appointment for a flu shot at a Costco pharmacy near you, rather than just turn up and wait, you can visit their website and make an online reservation here.
Don’t forget, on the same web page, to download the Immunization Consent Form, and to take that along with a valid ID and proof of Medicare insurance when you have your appointment for the flu shot at Costco.
Walk in flu shots at Costco Pharmacies ?
If you decide not to book an appointment online, it is fine to just turn up and ask for a flu shot, but wait times will depend on the availability of staff to administer your shot.
Don’t forget, you can speed things up by downloading from the Costco website the Immunization Consent From.
You also need to take valid ID and proof of Medicare insurance.
Download your Immunization Consent Form
Whether you reserve a time slot or you just turn up at your local Costco pharmacy, you would do well to download the Immunization Consent Form here.
If you fill out the form ahead of time, your appointment will go more quickly.
What do flu vaccines cost at Costco out of pocket ?
At Costco, flu vaccines without insurance cost –
- Afluria or Flucelvax quadrivalent flu vaccines (members and non-members) – $19.99
- Fluad high-dose flu vaccine for seniors – $46.99
Does Medicare pay for flu shots at CVS ?
Medicare Part B does cover flu shots at CVS, as long as you are Medicare-enrolled in Medicare Part B, and you haven’t already had a shot in the same flu season.
Just like Walgreens and Walmart, CVS is Medicare-enrolled and accepts assignment.
CVS will bill Medicare for the flu shot, and again there will be no deductible or coinsurance for you to pay.
What other vaccines are available at Walmart ?
As well as the flu vaccine, Walmart offers the following vaccines in their pharmacies –
- Pneumonia (pneumococcal)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- HPV (human papilloma virus)
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- Meningitis (meningococcal)
- Shingles (herpes zoster)
- Tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis) (Tdap)
Which vaccines are covered by Medicare ?
Medicare Part B covers –
The Influenza vaccine –
- Medicare will cover one flu shot per flu season
- additional flu shots can be covered if it is considered medically necessary
- there is no deductible for the flu shots
- if the practitioner and provider accept assignment there is no co-insurance to pay
The Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine
- Medicare Part B pays for one shot
- the pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults over the age of 65
- if it is medically necessary for people with underlying health conditions, there is an additional 5 yearly boosters
- there is no deductible for pneumonia shots
- if you use a practitioner and provider who accepts assignment, there is no co-insurance to pay
The Hepatitis B Vaccine –
- Medicare will pay for a series of three shots for high or medium risk individuals
- if your health care provider for the Hepatitis B Vaccine accepts assignment – this means that they are Medicare-enrolled and that they accept the medicare approved price – you will not have to pay anything
The Tetanus Vaccine –
Medicare Part B will cover the Tetanus Vaccine if it is “medically necessary” in a case of injury or illness, and is prescribed by a Medicare-enrolled physician.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) covers –
- Medicare Part C plans are contracted to provide the same services as Original Medicare Parts A and B, so they all cover the same vaccines as Medicare Part B
- you will not have to pay a deductible or co-insurance so long as you use the providers that your insurance plans tells you to use
- you will need to find out from your plan provider which pharmacies are in their network
- some Medicare Part C plans also cover the Shingles Vaccine and both of the Tetanus Vaccines
Medicare Part D covers –
Medicare Part D plans (Drug plans) cover the commercially available vaccines for diseases which are not covered by Medicare Part B.
Vaccines required for travel abroad which are not covered by Medicare Part B will be covered under Medicare Part D plans, but the amounts you will have to pay in terms of deductibles and co-pays will depend on the plan which you are a member of.
To find out the amounts you will have to contribute, you will need to contact your Medicare Part D Plan provider.
Medicare Part D also covers –
The Shingles Vaccine –
- Part D plans pay for Shingrix which is recommended for adults over the age of 60
- the amount to which your plan covers the Shingles Vaccine will vary with each provider
- the amount of the co-pay will also depend on your Medicare Part D plan
- each Medicare Part D plan also has its own rules for administration and for the method of payment
The Tdap Vaccine –
- is for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)
- Part D plans pay for Tdap which is a booster shot for adolescents and adults (children first get the DTaP Vaccine)
- how much Tdap costs and your contributions will depend on the Medicare Part D plan that you have signed up to
- each Medicare Part D plan will have its own rules for administration and for the method of payment
Free one-on-one help with understanding Medicare
SHIP – State Health Insurance Assistance Programs
If you are having trouble making sense of your benefits, SHIPs offer over-the-phone counseling services and guidance on Medicare, Medicaid and Medigap.
To find out how you get it, go here – “Free Help Understanding Medicare And Medicaid ? Here’s Where You Get It”.
I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com
I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.