Getting A Flu Vaccine: Four Steps
Community care flu shots are available to eligible Veterans who:
- Are enrolled in the VA health care system AND
- Received care through VA from either a VA or community provider within the past 24 monthsNOTE: Second requirement is new for 2021-2022 flu season.
To check your eligibility, Veterans can:
Call 800-MyVA411 , select option 1 , then select option 3 , and then option 1 again .NOTE: The system will check your eligibility for the community urgent care benefit, which includes the flu vaccine.
Contact your local VA medical facility.
Veterans can get a flu shot without prior authorization. Flu vaccines provided include standard , high dose, and preservative-free.
NOTE: Family members and beneficiaries are not eligible. State, age and health-related restrictions may apply. Individuals who are not eligible and receive a flu vaccine may be liable for the cost of the vaccine.
Find A Pharmacy That Offers Vaccines
Your prescription drug plan may cover vaccines, which are now available at many retail pharmacies. Vaccines administered at your retail pharmacy usually don’t require an appointment and use the same effective medications as your physician’s office.
Before You Visit the Pharmacy…
- Check with your plan sponsor about vaccine coverage and copayment information.
- Make sure the pharmacy you use is part of your Express Scripts participating pharmacy network. If you’re not sure, use the Find a Pharmacy feature to find out.
When You Get to the Pharmacy…
- Be sure to present your prescription member ID card at the time of service.
- Some of the pharmacies below may have an on-site clinic that offers flu vaccines. Be sure to get your vaccine from the pharmacist at the pharmacy, not from the clinic.
Independent and regional pharmacies may not be listed below.
- A& P US
- Kash N’ Karry Food Stores
- Kerr Drug Inc.
- St. John’s Mercy Hlth Svcs LLC
- Stop & Shop Pharmacy
- VA Dept Of Behavioral Health
- Wakefern Food Corporation
Reminder: Tricare Prescription Copay Increases In 2022
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT WALMART/SAM’S CLUB PHARMACIES: Effective December 15, 2021, Walmart and Sam’s Club will no longer be a part of the TRICARE pharmacy network. This will NOT impact our US Family Health Plan members, as your plan uses a different pharmacy contract. US Family Health Plan members can continue to use Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies for urgent-need, non-maintenance prescription fills.
For your planning purposes, we want to let you know that TRICARE will be raising member copays on prescription drugs beginning January 1, 2022. These increases will affect all US Family Health Plan members except dependent survivors of active-duty service members , medically retired service members and dependents of medically retired service members. These members will see no change in their prescription drug copays in 2022.
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How Much Is A Tricare Prescription Copay
Typically, there is a 50% copayment after meeting the deductibles. However, this does vary from plan to plan.
For that reason, its highly recommended to check the details of your insurance plan before you go to the pharmacy, especially if youre concerned about the price.
Often, you can call the pharmacy, and Rite Aid can check on what your copayment is. If youre confused or concerned about your company, this option is probably your best shot.
Who Should Get The Flu Vaccine
Everyone 6 months and older should receive a yearly flu vaccine, with rare exceptions. The flu vaccine causes your body to make antibodies that fight the flu, decreasing your risk of becoming sick with the flu. Since the viruses in the vaccine are not live, they cannot cause the flu. The flu vaccine is recommended annually, as immunity decreases over time. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, so it is important to get the vaccine before the flu starts spreading in your area.
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Specialty Drug Home Delivery Program
Express Scripts has always offered the Specialty Drug Home Delivery Program. This free, voluntary program gives you access to the following services:
- Get expert advice from nurses, pharmacists, and social workers specializing in complex disease states
- Nurses are available Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-9:00 pm Eastern Time
- Pharmacists are available 24/7
Flu Shots Now Available At Cvs Walmart Walgreens And Rite
In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens have started administering the flu shot for 2021. AP
While Americans are being highly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine, pharmacies are looking ahead to the 2021 flu season.
CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid have announced they are accepting appointments for people to get a flu shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people age 6 months and older receive a flu shot before the end of October and that getting it is even more important during the pandemic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness, the healthcare system, and other critical infrastructure. Thus, healthcare personnel should use every opportunity during the influenza season to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons, the CDC said.
Walmart said it is offering a low-cost flu vaccine and a free COVID-19 vaccine that people can get at the same time.
Walmart said it also will continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while administering vaccines.
CVS said it has flu shots available at all CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.
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Managing Diabetes For Your Best Health
Diabetes is a lifelong, chronic condition where there is not enough insulin in the body to effectively help with digestion after eating. If you have diabetes, its important to complete all your monitoring and testing:
- Have an annual physical
- Check your blood pressure regularly and keep it under control
- Have a Hemoglobin A1c test at least twice a year and keep your blood sugars under control
- Have your eyes examined yearly
Have your kidneys tested yearlyIn addition to being sure you have all your monitoring and testing completed, be sure you take care of yourself at home:
- Take medications as your provider has instructed
- Know your blood sugar results
- Know how to treat low and high blood sugars
- Keep active and exercise
- Eat well
- Maintain a healthy weight
Learn more about diabetes and things you can do to take good care of your health if you have diabetes.
People At High Risk From The Flu
Anyone can get sick , and serious problems related to flu can happenat any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious complications if theyget sick. People at high risk of flu complications include:
People 65 & Older
People with Chronic Health Conditions
People living in long term care or nursing homes
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What Does Tricare Cover At Rite Aid
Any prescriptions that are typically covered by Tricare should also be covered at Rite Aid.
The exact medications that are covered by Tricare do vary, though.
You should speak with your doctor about whether or not your insurance will cover a particular medication before they prescribe it, as they should be able to check for you.
In many cases, Tricare may default to the generic medication. Typically, this should not be a problem. However, it can sometimes cause some confusion at the pharmacy.
Occasionally, the pharmacist may explain that the medication is not covered. While the name-brand may not be, the generic version is.
Therefore, be sure that you ask about the generic option if Tricare doesnt cover the name-brand that your doctor prescribed.
In many cases, Tricare will cover the default medication completely.
Often, Tricare will also cover vaccinations you get at the Rite Aid pharmacy. Usually, this covers annual vaccinations, like the flu shot, as well as common boosters, like the TDAP.
Of course, its recommended that you ask before you make your purchase, as it can vary from vaccination to vaccination.
The only way to accurately judge what Tricare will cover is to ask your pharmacist or call your insurance.
Plans differ depending on your location, and prior approval is necessary for some things to be covered.
Free Flu Shots Through Clinics Community Organizations And Public Health Departments
Many health departments and free clinics offer low-cost or free flu shots across the U.S. Here are a few examples:
Most colleges offer free flu shots for their students. Check on your schools website to confirm.
Military veterans enrolled in health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can get a flu shot at their nearest VA health care facility. This program does not apply to family members of veterans.
Many county health departments offer free, or discounted, flu vaccinations during flu season. Examples include:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, in partnership with select LA County Libraries, will offer free flu shots through November.
The Houston Health Department offers flu shots to uninsured and underinsured people on a sliding scale that ranges from free to $15.
Cant find a location near you on this list? Watch for announcements on your local news station or in your local newspaper or search online for free flu shots in your area or through your citys health department.
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Free Flu Shots At The Va For Veterans
Veterans who are registered in the VA medical care system can receive a free flu shot at their local VA hospital. If you are net yet enrolled for VA health care benefits, you need to complete the VA Form 10-10EZ and return it to a VA hospital with proof of military service, usually a copy of the DD Form 214. The VA will enroll you in the system and ask you to complete a health questionnaire. When the questionnaire is complete, you will be eligible to receive a free flu shot.
The VA also partners with Walgreens and Duane Reade to provide free flu shots to veterans who are enrolled in the VA Health Care System. Veterans who wish to receive their flu shots at participating locations are required to fill out a flu vaccination form and show a valid VA ID card and valid photo ID card. Your VA Electronic Health Record in the VA Health Care System will be automatically update by Walgreens or Duane Reade when you receive the vaccine.
What Are The Different Types Of Flu Vaccines
There are several different types of flu vaccines available. Rite Aid offers the following flu vaccines:
Quadrivalent flu vaccine – this vaccine protects against two Influenza A strains and two Influenza B strains.
For those 65 years of age and older, there are two types of flu vaccines that are designed to provide a greater immune response.
- High-dose flu vaccine – this vaccine contains four times more antigen than standard dose flu vaccines.
- Adjuvanted flu vaccine – this vaccine contains an ingredient that provides a stronger immune response.
Ask your Rite Aid pharmacist which vaccine is right for you.
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What Are The Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
Common side effects of the flu vaccine include: soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, fever, headache, nausea, and muscle aches.
Less common side effects may include: fainting, Guillain-Barre syndrome , and allergic reactions.
Egg Allergy: Eggs are used in the production of some flu vaccines. Those who experience only hives after eating eggs or egg-containing products may still receive any flu vaccine formulation appropriate for their age and health status. Those with a more severe egg allergy should only receive a flu shot in a medical facility that is prepared to handle a severe allergic reaction .
Free And Low Cost Flu Vaccine Alternatives
Hospitals & Clinics Local hospitals and community clinics often offer free flu shot events. Check with your area hospitals to see if there is one scheduled near you.
Local Community Organizations Many communities have family resource centers and health clinics for low-income families and at-risk residents. Often times, they hold weekend or evening events where community members can come out to receive free flu shots and other needed services such as dental check ups and health screenings.
Health Insurance If you have health insurance coverage, you can receive a free flu shot at your doctors office and at participating pharmacies like Rite Aid, CVS, Target , and Walgreens. Grocery stores with in-store pharmacies may also offer free flu shots.
Your Employer Many employers are willing to host a free flu vaccine event. This helps reduce the number of work days missed by ill employees. Check with your employer to see if they have an event scheduled, or if they are interested in setting one up.
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Flu Shots With Tricare
Eligible TRICARE enrollees can get flu shots covered by TRICARE. Guidelines for this service include the following TRICARE rules:
- Only vaccines given by a pharmacist are covered by the pharmacy benefit with no cost to the patient.
- If your flu vaccine is administered by a provider at an onsite clinic, it may not be covered. Patients may be required to pay the full expense out-of-pocket.
- You visit your primary care provider to get flu shots if your pharmacy has restrictions or there are no flu shots available. In such cases copayments or cost shares for the office visit may be required.
Active Duty Military Guard & Reserves
The military requires all active duty members to receive the flu vaccine, either in the form of the flu shot or the flu mist. Most branches will schedule a time for active duty groups to receive their vaccines. Guard and Reserve Members should check with their unit to confirm if there is a scheduled event or recommended location to receive the flu vaccine.
If there is not an organized event on base, active duty military, Guard, and Reserve members can receive the vaccination at a military clinic or hospital, through a TRICARE-authorized provider, or at a TRICARE Prime or Standard participating pharmacy network, including WalMart, Walgreens, Kroger, and Rite Aid. Use the TRICARE Pharmacy Finder to locate a participating pharmacy near you. All members with TRICARE Reserve Select are eligible for the free flu vaccine.
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Planning Ahead: What You Must Know About Coverage For Long
Advances in science and the increased focus on our health are allowing us to live longer, which means planning for the future is more crucial now than ever before. As we age, many of us may find ourselves needing the services of assisted living, memory care facilities, or nursing homes. Planning for these expenses is important.
You should know that long-term-care expenses are generally not covered by any health insurance plans. This is true for traditional Medicare as well as TRICARE® plans, including both the US Family Health Plan and TRICARE for Life. There are many companies that offer long-term-care insurance options, including the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program. The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program is available to eligible federal and US Postal Service employees and annuitants, active and retired uniformed service members, and certain qualified relatives. They can be reached at 1-800-LTC-FEDS or on their website ltcfeds.com. There is sometimes additional financial assistance for that long-term-care coverage through your states income-based Medicaid program. Information can be provided to you by your local Medicaid office.
You may need to change your insurance plan: If you are a member of the US Family Health Plan at the time you enter a long-term-care facility, you may need to change your insurance plan. To remain eligible for the US Family Health Plan, members must be able to meet all three of these managed-care criteria:
Are You An Active Duty Or Guard/reserve Member
Youre required to get the flu vaccine.
- You have priority to get the vaccine at military hospitals and military clinics.
- You can also get vaccines at participating retail network pharmacies.
If you go to a participating network pharmacy, you won’t have any cost-shares or copayments if the flu vaccine is administered by a pharmacist. You can also go to a TRICARE-authorized provider at a participating network onsite clinic.
If you go to a network doctor other than your primary care manager , you must get a referral from your PCM. In addition, you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares for the office visit.
When you get a flu vaccine from a participating network pharmacy, follow your Service policy guidance for recording the vaccine in your shot record. You’ll need the following information:
- The date the vaccine was given
- The vaccine name or code
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Get Your Flu Vaccine For $0 Cost At A Tricare Network Pharmacy
The flu vaccine is a vaccine that causes antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection against infection. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three to four influenza viruses that are expected to be the most widespread in the upcoming season, based on research. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness between 40% and 60%, so the CDC recommends that all people ages 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine each year.
How much does it cost to get the flu vaccine?
Your annual flu vaccine is free when it is given by a pharmacist at a retail network pharmacy or a military hospital or clinic. Copayments may apply if you receive the flu vaccine at a health clinic inside of a pharmacy.
How do I find a retail network pharmacy?
Use our online tool here to find a local retail network pharmacy.
How do I get the flu vaccine at a retail pharmacy?
Before you get your flu vaccine, call the pharmacy to ask about:
- Days and times the vaccine is available
- Certain restrictions, such as age limits
- If there are any other vaccines available that you might be eligible for
Be sure an authorized pharmacist is giving the vaccine, not a health provider, to avoid possible out-of-pocket costs. You should also bring your military ID when you get the flu vaccine.