It’s that time of year again, flu season.
Have you and your family gotten the flu vaccine yet?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months gets the flu vaccine.
Here are the details you need to know about getting the flu vaccine as a military family.
Tricare pays for the flu vaccine, but they have strict guidelines that you must follow in order for your insurance to cover the cost.
The nasal spray that you or a family member may have gotten last year is not available this year. If you want the flu vaccine, you’ll have to get the injectable treatment. Here are 3 ways to get the flu vaccine and have it covered by Tricare.
How to Get the Flu Vaccine for Free Through Tricare
Visit a military hospital or clinic. You should call ahead and make sure that the flu vaccine is available. Some clinics have certain hours that walk-in vaccinations are done and some require an appointment. Active duty service members have priority so prepare yourself for a possible wait.
Visit an in-network pharmacy. You can search on Tricare’s website to find a local participating network pharmacy or you can call the Tricare line at (877) 363-1303.
Last December the Tricare retail pharmacy network changed so you may not be able to go to the same pharmacy you went to for your flu vaccine previously. Make sure you check if your pharmacy of choice is in network now.
For example, last year you might have gone to the CVS pharmacy in Target. Tricare no longer uses CVS. They switched to Walgreens.
You can also get your flu vaccine at Walmart, Kroger and Rite Aid to name a few.
Before heading to the pharmacy, call first. You’ll need to make sure a pharmacist will be available to give the flu vaccine, as Tricare will only cover the cost if it is given by a pharmacist.
If you get the flu vaccine by someone at an onsite clinic that is not a pharmacist, you may have to pay the full price of the flu vaccine.
Make sure when you talk to them to ask what hours the pharmacist will be available to give shots and if there is an age restriction. Some pharmacy policies do not allow them to give the flu vaccine to children under a certain age.
Visit a Tricare authorized provider. If you don’t have a primary physician, you can find a doctor through Tricare’s website. Note that you will be subject to your Tricare plan when going to see a doctor. This means you might have a copay or cost share for the visit. The shot however will be covered.
Active duty service members that do not want to get their flu vaccine from their primary care provider will need a referral to get one elsewhere.
Naval Hospital Jacksonville is offering the flu vaccine at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville Commissary on November 14 and 15.
If you are hesitant to getting the flu vaccine, remember that getting the shot is the first step you can take to protect yourself from the flu. It is required for all active duty, selected reserves and health care workers.
While everyone over the age of 6 months is recommended to get the flu vaccine, it is particularly recommended for pregnant women and people who suffer from chronic health problems such as diabetes and emphysema.
Don’t let being scared of a shot keep you from getting the flu vaccine. The flu is very contagious being spread by physical contact, coughing and sneezing. If you get the flu, you may have mild to severe sickness that could land you in a hospital. Make sure to wash your hands often to prevent the spread of this illness.
Now that you know how to get the flu vaccine for free, make time to get it done and protect yourself and your family.