​​​​​Encourage flu vaccinations

September 25, 2020

Independence is committed to providing our members with access to the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage all Independence members and providers to visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpage regularly for the latest news and updates. We will continue to evaluate member needs as the situation changes.


The flu is a contagious disease that can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. The flu sends hundreds of thousands of people in the United States to the hospital each year. The CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2018–2019 flu season included an estimated 35.5 million people getting sick, 16.5 million people going to a health care provider for their illness, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths.1​ Getting vaccinated can reduce a person’s risk of flu infections and prevent medical visits, hospitalizations, and even death.

Although the flu and COVID-19 may present in similar ways, they are very different viruses.

There is no vaccine for COVID-19, so it is more important than ever this year for people to stay up to date with immunizations that keep them healthy. A combination of both viruses, or one after the other, could be dangerous for overall health, respiratory health, and recovery. It may be difficult to distinguish between the two since they have similar presentations. Getting the flu vaccine can lower the risk for one potential source for the symptoms.

Encourage your Independence patients to get the flu vaccine every year to protect themselves, coworkers, and their families from getting sick with the flu.

Coverage for the flu vaccine

The flu vaccine is available to Independence members at no cost when they present their member ID card at a provider’s office, a retail health clinic, or an in-network pharmacy. If members pay out of pocket, they will be reimbursed for the cost up to $50. Medicare Advantage members are covered for a flu shot once a year and can apply for reimbursement if they pay out of pocket.

Remind patients that September and October are considered the best times to get vaccinated. Vaccination should continue if flu viruses are circulating, even well into the winter.

Your patients can visit the CDC website to learn more about preventing the flu and the flu vaccine.

Learn more

For detailed information related to our coverage of services during the COVID-19 public health emergency, please review our news articles on our Medical Policy Portal.

For more information about Independence’s position on COVID-19, please review the following resources: