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Best Place to Get Flu Shots

Posted By Jim On 09/27/2011 @ 7:06 am In Personal Finance | 9 Comments

Ah lovely influenza season… as the temperatures get a little cooler and the threat of winter approaches, you’re probably being assailed by advertisements and signs to get your flu shot. With a flu shot costing anywhere from $30-$50 a pop, it’s no wonder stores are clamoring to get your business every single year!

As it turns out, a flu shot is usually covered by insurance because it’s easier to administer a cheaper shot than pay for doctor’s visits and the like should you come down with influenza. That said, there are plenty of folks not covered by insurance and you might be wondering what your cheapest and lowest cost option is should you want to get one. I review a few of the places you can get your flu shot and explain which might be the best option for you.

Your Employer

If you work at a large enough company, especially one with a clinic on site, chances are your company offers free flu shot. A free $30 flu shot is cheaper than having someone call in sick, so make sure you take advantage if this is available!

Your Healthcare Provider

Fortunately for me, my annual flu shot is covered 100% by my health insurance and so the best option for me was to go to my physician. In this case, all it cost me to get a flu shot, and a tetanus shot (now with pertussis!) was my typical $10 co-pay. You will have to call your insurance company to find out if you are covered but in the event that you are, this is likely going to be the cheapest option for you as long as your co-pay is lower than what you’d pay at the alternatives below. If you need to get boosters for anything, and those are covered, it’s best to go this option since one co-pay covers multiple shots.

Costco – $20

Costco [3] works with Maxim Healthcare Nurses to provide a seasonal Influenza immunization for only $20. If you are a Medicare Card Part B participant, they will Medicare on your behalf without you having to pay a co-pay (this will be true anywhere). You do not need a membership to get a flu shot, just tell the person at the door that you’re going for a flu shot. They also have a Pneumonia immunization shot for $45.

Not all Costco’s will have a flu shot clinic, use this flu shot finder [4] to find the schedule of the nearest Costco clinic.

CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid

I lump all of these drugstores together since the pricing and policy is similar for each. You can usually walk in to a store and get a shot without an appointment, but you might want to schedule one if your time is tight (also, in case you unfortunately run into a line). Here are the webpages for each store:

  • CVS [5] – $29.99 each and could be covered by insurance; in the event that it is not, you also get a $5 CVS/pharmacy gift card.
  • Walgreens [6] – They don’t provide pricing online but I expect it to be around $25-$30 and covered by insurance (if your insurance covers it.
  • Rite Aid [7] – They offer flu shots (as well as about a dozen other shots) for $27.99 and could be covered by insurance.

That about covers nationally available options. As I mentioned earlier, my best place to get a flu shot was with my physician (technically, the office of my primary care provider because an RN administered the shot) but I could’ve just as easily headed to Costco or a drug store because my shot was already covered.

(Photo: futureatlas [8])


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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/place-flu-shots.html

[3] Costco: http://www.costco.com/Browse/ProductSet.aspx?Prodid=11320292

[4] flu shot finder: http://www.findaflushot.com/costco/

[5] CVS: http://www.cvs.com/flu/

[6] Walgreens: http://www.walgreens.com/topic/health-shops/cold-and-flu.jsp

[7] Rite Aid: http://www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/immunization/

[8] futureatlas: http://www.flickr.com/photos/87913776@N00/4082902973/sizes/s/in/photostream/

Thank you for reading!