It's that time of year again: flu season is coming. Did you know the flu shot is available for free to most military members, their families and veterans?
During the 2019-2020 flu season, more than 4,600 veterans were hospitalized from the flu at VA medical centers. More than 600 of them required intensive care stays. VA providers also saw over 27,000 veterans for flu and spoke to more than 13,000 during phone triage calls.
How To Get The Flu Shot For Free
If you have Tricare, you can get the vaccine for free in three ways:
- At a military hospital or clinic - you should call ahead to make sure it is available, active duty personnel have priority
- At a participating network pharmacy - you can find one by searching online or calling 877-363-1303. You should call the pharmacy first to ask when you can get the vaccine, and who gives the vaccine. Only vaccines given by a pharmacist are covered. If your vaccine is administered by a provider at an onsite clinic, it may not be covered and you may have to pay the entire cost
- At your primary care provider - you may have to pay the office visit copay
Remember, all active duty and Guard or reserve members are required to get the flu vaccine. Active duty members must have a referral to get the vaccine from any provider other than their primary care manager.
If you're enrolled in Department of Veteran Affairs health care you can get a flu shot at your local VA health care facility, walk-in flu shot clinic, or more than 60,000 in-network community retail pharmacy or urgent care locations.
To get your free flu shot at a community care urgent care location you must have received care from a VA or in-network community provider in the past 24 months.
You just have to show a government-issued photo ID to get the shot for free.
Use the VA facility locator to find a location near you. It's always best to call before you go to make sure the service is being offered, or if there are restrictions.
If you aren't enrolled in VA healthcare, your insurance may offer flu shots for free, or for a small fee. Check with your insurance company for details.
Medicare Part B covers 100% of the cost of a flu shot as well.
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