Does Medicare Cover Flu Shots?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published December 16, 2020 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare Part B covers 100% of the cost of annual flu shots. You will not have to pay anything out of pocket for your annual flu shot if the doctor or health care provider administering the shot accepts Medicare assignment.

If you have a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan, your plan may cover in-network flu shots.

If you get the flu or any other illness, a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan can help cover the out-of-pocket costs you may face for Medicare-covered treatment. 

Patient smiles as her doctor gives her flu shotMedicare Part B typically covers flu shots.

Does Medicare Pay for Annual Flu Shots?

Medicare Part B (medical insurance) typically pays for your annual flu shot in full, if your doctor accepts Medicare assignment.

Generally, flu shots are available at the end of October each year.

  • The CDC recommends getting your flu shot early, as it takes around two weeks to become effective in your body. 

  • Although flu season (October through May) is the most popular time to get a flu shot, influenza vaccines tend to be available as long as the flu is circulating. 

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone over six months old should get an annual flu vaccination. Influenza is a serious disease, one which can cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.

Getting the seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting the flu.

But getting a vaccine is even more important for seniors.

Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce hospitalizations among people 50 years and older, and adults over the age of 65 are among those with the highest risk for developing flu-related complications.

These complications can include:

  • Pneumonia

  • Bronchitis

  • Sinus infections

  • Ear infections

It's important to note that these complications can make chronic health problems worse, and can even result in death if not properly treated.

Because Medicare does pay for flu shots, you should be sure to get yours.

Providers That Accept Medicare for Flu Shots

Medicare Part B covers the cost of your annual flu shot as long as you visit a provider who accepts Medicare.

A Medicare provider could be your doctor or a medical clinic, but it might also include health care providers and clinics at retail locations such as Wal-Mart, some grocery stores and retail pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS and others.

Check with your local flu shot providers and ask if they accept Medicare before getting your flu vaccination.

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans Can Cover Medicare Costs When You Get the Flu

If you get the flu or another illness and your treatment is covered by Medicare, you may likely face out-of-pocket Medicare costs such as deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.

A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan can help pay for these costs.

For example, each of the 10 standardized Medigap plans that are available in most states help cover the Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments you might face when you receive covered flu treatment.

Learn more about common procedures that medicare covers.

A licensed agent can help you decide on a Medicare option that works for you. Call today to speak with a licensed agent and compare the Medigap plans that are available where you live. 

Find Medigap plans in your area.

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Or call 1-800-995-4219 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.


Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.

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