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Does medicare cover flu shots?

Does Medicare Cover Flu Shots? Everything You Need to Know

As the flu season approaches, many individuals, especially seniors, may wonder if Medicare covers the cost of flu shots. Staying informed about your Medicare benefits is crucial for maintaining your health and preventing illness. This detailed guide explains how Medicare handles flu shot coverage, the process for obtaining a flu shot, and other important considerations.

Understanding Medicare Coverage for Flu Shots

1. Medicare Part B and Flu Shots

Preventive Services

  • Covered Service: Medicare Part B covers the full cost of one flu shot per flu season. This includes the vaccine itself and the administration fee.
  • No Cost Sharing: Beneficiaries do not have to pay a deductible or co-payment for the flu shot as it is considered a preventive service.

2. Frequency of Coverage

Annual Vaccination

  • Once Per Season: Medicare covers one flu shot per flu season, typically starting in the fall and lasting through the winter months.
  • Additional Shots: If a healthcare provider deems it medically necessary, additional flu shots may be covered.

Where to Get a Flu Shot

1. Healthcare Providers

Doctor’s Office

  • Primary Care: You can get your flu shot from your primary care physician or other healthcare providers who accept Medicare assignment.
  • Specialists: Specialists who participate in Medicare can also administer the flu shot.

2. Pharmacies and Clinics

Convenient Locations

  • Participating Pharmacies: Many pharmacies, including national chains and local drugstores, provide flu shots and bill Medicare directly.
  • Walk-In Clinics: Retail clinics and urgent care centers often offer flu shots and accept Medicare.

How to Ensure Coverage

1. Verify Provider Participation

Medicare Assignment

  • Accepted Providers: Make sure the provider administering the flu shot accepts Medicare assignment to avoid out-of-pocket costs.
  • Billing: Providers who accept Medicare assignment will bill Medicare directly for the flu shot.

2. Bring Your Medicare Card

Proof of Coverage

  • Identification: Bring your Medicare card with you when you go to get your flu shot to verify your coverage.
  • Information: Providing your Medicare information ensures that the provider can bill Medicare directly.

Additional Considerations

1. Types of Flu Vaccines

Standard vs. High-Dose

  • Standard Dose: Medicare covers the standard flu vaccine, which is suitable for most adults.
  • High-Dose Vaccine: For individuals aged 65 and older, Medicare also covers the high-dose flu vaccine, designed to provide better protection for seniors.

2. Timing of the Flu Shot

Optimal Timing

  • Early Vaccination: It is recommended to get your flu shot early in the flu season, typically in September or October, to ensure protection throughout the season.
  • Availability: Flu shots are available throughout the flu season, so even if you miss the early months, you can still get vaccinated later.

Other Vaccines Covered by Medicare

1. Pneumococcal Vaccine

Preventing Pneumonia

  • Coverage: Medicare Part B also covers pneumococcal vaccines, which protect against pneumonia and other infections.
  • Schedule: Typically, two pneumococcal vaccines are covered, spaced one year apart.

2. Hepatitis B Vaccine

High-Risk Individuals

  • Eligibility: Medicare covers the Hepatitis B vaccine for individuals at medium to high risk, including those with diabetes or end-stage renal disease.
  • Series: The vaccine series is typically given in three shots over a six-month period.


Medicare Part B covers the full cost of one flu shot per flu season without any cost-sharing for beneficiaries. You can get your flu shot from a variety of providers, including doctors, pharmacies, and clinics, as long as they accept Medicare assignment. Always bring your Medicare card and verify that the provider accepts Medicare to ensure coverage. In addition to flu shots, Medicare also covers other important vaccines, such as the pneumococcal and Hepatitis B vaccines, providing comprehensive protection for your health. Staying vaccinated is a crucial step in preventing illness and maintaining overall well-being, especially during flu season. 

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