Medicare: Flu Shots Coverage

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Medicare Part B covers 100% of the costs associated with receiving both standard and preferred influenza vaccines as long as you receive your vaccine from a participating health care provider. Coverage applies at least once per flu season and may apply to additional shots if they are deemed medically necessary.

Read below for more information on how and when Medicare covers flu shots for seniors plus what steps you need to take to make sure you are covered once you become eligible for Medicare.

Key Takeaways

  • Medicare Parts B and C cover standard influenza shots and preferred flu vaccines for people over the age of 65.
  • Coverage usually applies to one shot per flu season but you could get more shots covered if your primary care physician says they are medically necessary.
  • Flu shots are free through Medicare if you receive them from a participating or in-network provider, although you could still have to pay a portion of an administration fee whenever you receive your shot.
  • Without insurance, flu shot prices may range from around $50 to more than $100 depending on the type of vaccine you receive and where you go to receive it.

Does Medicare Cover Flu Shots?

Medicare provides coverage for flu shots including the standard Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine and three types of preferred flu shots: Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluad Quadrivalent. Preferred flu vaccines are recommended for people over the age of 65.[1]

Your Medicare health insurance will generally cover one shot per flu season, although it may cover multiple flu shots per season if a doctor determines that they are medically necessary.[1] “Flu season” doesn’t have an exact definition but it generally occurs during the fall and winter, potentially beginning as early as October and ending as late as the following May.[2]

What Part of Medicare Covers Flu Shots?

Flu shots are covered by Medicare Part B, which is also known as medical insurance. Part B predominantly covers outpatient medical care such as doctor’s visits and preventive services like screenings or vaccines. In addition, Medicare Part B includes coverage for the following:[3][4]

  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers
  • Clinical research
  • Ambulance services
  • Mental health care
  • Prescription drugs that aren’t self-administered

Meanwhile, flu shots should also be covered by Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, since these plans offered by private health insurance companies generally include all of the parts of Original Medicare. However, Medicare Advantage plans tend to have more limited networks than Original Medicare and your carrier could require you to receive your shot from an in-network provider.

How Much Is a Flu Shot With Medicare?

You won’t have to pay anything when you get a seasonal flu shot from a medical provider who accepts assignment, which means they don’t charge more for covered services than the preapproved amount that Medicare agrees to pay.[1]

Keep in mind that medical providers are required to accept assignment for the flu shot itself but may charge above the Medicare-approved amount for associated administration fees.[5]

As a result, if your doctor charges an administration fee whenever you get vaccinated against the flu, you could have to pay the difference between the Medicare-approved fee amount and the amount your doctor actually charges.

How Much Is a Flu Shot Without Insurance?

Flu shot prices are fairly stable if you don’t have Medicare or some other type of health insurance but may vary slightly depending on your location and the pharmacy you select. As an example, you can view the below table for a rundown of the most common retail prices for preferred and standard-dose flu vaccines among various pharmacies in Costa Mesa, California, according to GoodRx.


Most Common Retail Price

Fluzone Quadrivalent[6]


Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent[7]


Flublok Quadrivalent[8]


Fluad Quadrivalent[9]


How To Apply for Medicare Part B Before a Flu Shot

In order to enroll in Medicare, you will need to fill out and submit an application on the Social Security Administration website. You have the option to apply for Medicare Parts A and B separately, which may be necessary depending on your circumstances.

For example, once you become eligible for Medicare, usually by turning 65 years old, you will be automatically enrolled in both Parts A and B if you have received Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits for at least four months. However, if you have been approved for these benefits but did not start receiving them at least four months before turning 65, you will only be automatically enrolled in Part A, meaning you must sign up for Part B separately.[10]

If you have to manually sign up for Medicare, then you will generally need to do so during your initial enrollment period, which begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65.[11]

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Does Medicare Supplement Insurance cover flu shots?

Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, only covers expenses that aren’t covered by Original Medicare, which means you wouldn’t need a Medigap plan to cover flu shots since they are already covered by Medicare Part B.

Are flu shots free?

Flu shots are free if you have Medicare Part B, a Medicare Advantage plan or a Marketplace health plan and receive your shot from a participating or in-network provider.[1][12] However, you will have to pay for your annual flu shot if you don’t have health insurance.

Can I bill Medicare Part B for flu shots?

Your health care provider will generally file a Medicare claim on your behalf when you receive covered services, so you shouldn’t be personally responsible for billing Medicare Part B after you get a flu shot.


  1. “Flu Shots Coverage.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Flu Season.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  3. “Parts of Medicare.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  4. “What Part B Covers.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  5. American Academy of Family Physicians. “Coding: Medicare Part B and Part D Vaccine Coverage.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  6. GoodRx. “Fluzone Quadrivalent Prices, Coupons & Savings Tips.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  7. GoodRx. “Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Prices, Coupons & Savings Tips.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  8. GoodRx. “Flublok Quadrivalent Prices, Coupons & Savings Tips.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  9. GoodRx. “Fluad Quadrivalent Prices, Coupons & Savings Tips.” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  10. “How Do I Sign Up for Medicare?” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  11. “When Does Medicare Coverage Start?” Accessed Dec. 4, 2023.
  12. “Get Your Flu Shot This Fall at No Cost.” Accessed Dec. 5, 2023.

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