Where to find free or cheap flu shots

Flu shots can be costly if you don’t know where to check for bargains. Here are some tips that might help.

Ask your employer. To cut down on sick days, employers frequently offer flu shots at no cost to their employees. If you’re employed, ask someone in your company’s human resources department if flu shots will be offered this season.

Check with your insurance company. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, all insurance plans that were created after March 23, 2010, are required to provide some types of preventive care, including immunizations, for free beginning September 23, 2012. If you have a new employer, or your employer recently switched insurance plans, call to find out if flu shots are covered.

Talk to your doctor. If you have Medicare Part B, your flu shot should be free. If you have private insurance, you may be able to get a flu shot either free or for the price of a copay. Even if you don’t think flu shots are covered by your insurance, ask the billing department at your doctor’s office to call and find out.

Look for free or low-cost flu clinics or events. Some hospitals or other health care organizations offer flu shot clinics where they will give free or low-cost flu shots to the public on a first-come-first-served basis.

Many state or local health departments also offer free flu shot clinics. But keep in mind, you’ll need to get there early and you’ll likely wait in line.

Try a drugstore or supermarket. Here are the deals for 2012:

  • Miami Dade Health Department: Free flu shots  for kids 1-18 years old. Adults: $25. Free flu shots for seniors 65 & older with financial need.
  • Navarro: $25 per shot (competitor’s prices will be matched).
  • CVS: $29.99. You’ll also get a 20% off shopping pass (while supplies last)
  • Walgreens: $32
  • Costco: $20
  • Walmart: $25
  • Winn-Dixie: $24.99. You’ll also get a coupon book with $15 worth of store coupons (while supplies last).

This post is by Julie Henry of Living on the Cheap.