This winter is shaping up to be a tough one, but if you’re feeling helpless, there’s one thing you can do right now that will make a big difference. Getting a flu shot is one of the simplest ways to help make this season easier for everyone, and it only takes a minute.
In an average year, 40-50 million Americans become sick with the flu, and around 800,000 of them require hospitalization. This year, as the coronavirus pandemic surges and infection numbers are expected to continue to increase as the weather gets colder, experts are warning that both viruses peaking this winter could put unmanageable stress on the healthcare system at a time when it is already stretched to the limit.
And, because early COVID and flu symptoms are very similar, you’re setting yourself up for undue anxiety if you do end up contracting the flu.
This year, it is especially important that anyone in one of these categories get their flu shot ASAP:
- Children under 5 and their parents
- Adults over 50
- Women who are pregnant or recently gave birth
- Nursing home residents and staff
- People with medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, HIV, kidney and heart disease
- Essential workers, especially health care workers
All health insurance providers are required by the Affordable Care Act to cover the flu vaccine as a free service, though you may have to go to a facility specified by your insurance provider to get it. While most adults are able to walk into a pharmacy to get the vaccine, children may have to go to a pediatrician, depending on your state’s regulations. If you do have to go to your doctor to get the shot, that visit will be free.
If you’re uninsured, the cost of the flu shot will vary depending on where you go, averaging around $40, though many big chains like Target and CVS offer a coupon on your next purchase when you get your vaccine. If you live near a Costco, the cost is just $20 — and you don’t have to be a member to get the deal! Either way, it’s well worth the cost to rest a little easier this winter.
And if you’re uninsured, the open enrollment window (Nov. 1-Dec. 15) is your one chance to get insured for the coming year. Check out our national benefits platform to find affordable, freelancer-friendly plans in your area, and enroll in the plan that works best for you. When you purchase your health insurance through Freelancers Union, we receive a small commission that helps us continue our advocacy work throughout the year.
You pay the same amount, and your Union gets to keep working on behalf of all freelancers. That’s health insurance with a purpose.