HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today alerted consumers that flu shots are free under most insurance plans, as long as they are given by an in-network provider.
"As colder weather and the flu season approach, I want Pennsylvanians to know that under federal law for most insurance plans, these shots are considered preventive care, and are available at no cost," Commissioner Miller said. "Consumers should not worry about cost when deciding whether to get a flu shot."
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, insurance plans established after 2010 cover flu shots with no cost to the consumer. This includes individual, small group, large group, and self-insured plans.
While flu shots are free at in-network health care providers, some insurers have created "flu shot networks" among pharmacies, and shots may be free only at pharmacies within these networks. Consumers considering getting a flu shot at a pharmacy should first check with their insurer to determine what pharmacies are in the insurer's flu shot network.
In addition to flu shots, a number of other preventive care vaccines are covered under this law, and are available at no cost through most insurance plans, when administered by in-network providers. Among the other immunizations covered under the Affordable Care Act are the chicken pox; shingles; tetanus; and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
"When Pennsylvanians are deciding whether to get these preventative care vaccines, they should only have to consider whether they and their medical provider believe it is the right decision medically – not how much the shot may cost," said Commissioner Miller.
Earlier this week, Commissioner Miller issued a consumer alert on this issue. The alert is posted on the homepage of the Insurance Department's website, www.insurance.pa.gov.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health kicked off its "Stopping the Flu Starts With YOU" campaign earlier this week. The department noted that during Pennsylvania's last flu season, there were 55,509 cases of flu, and 221 Pennsylvanians died from flu complications. Rates of serious illness and death are highest among persons over the age of 65 and individuals of any age who have chronic medical conditions that place them at increased risk for complications from influenza.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman, Insurance Department, 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance