Care and services available for seasonal flu

Staying healthy

The seasonal flu is a serious and contagious respiratory illness. This upcoming season (2020-2021), it is likely that both the flu virus and COVID-19 will be spreading in our communities. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's more important than ever to prevent and/or reduce the spread of flu. Here are some ways to protect yourself and others.

Get vaccinated. This is the most important thing you can do to protect against seasonal flu. While a flu shot will not protect you against COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of serious flu illness, hospitalization, and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older, especially people at a high risk of flu complications, get a yearly flu shot. Independence members can get their flu vaccine at no cost when they present their member ID card at their doctor's office, a retail health clinic, or an in-network pharmacy. If you pay out of pocket, you can get reimbursed for the cost up to $50. Visit our Immunizations page to see what your health plan covers.

Get a flu shot

If you are a Medicare Advantage member, please see below section.

Stop the spread of germs. These everyday preventive actions can help slow the spread of flu viruses and also help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible or stay home.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands properly and often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu-causing germs.

Symptoms and testing

Know the symptoms. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also experience vomiting and diarrhea. Note: People may be sick with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. Visit the CDC's website to learn more about flu symptoms, including emergency warning signs of flu and what to do if you get sick.

Get tested. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar. If your doctor needs to know for sure whether you are sick with the flu, there are lab tests that can be done. Talk to your doctor about testing options. To see what your health plan covers, call the number on the back of your member ID card for more information about your benefits.

If you are a Medicare Advantage member, please see below section.

Virtual visits and care

Get 24/7 access to quality care. When it's not possible to visit your doctor's office, retail clinic, or urgent care center, telemedicine is a convenient, safe, and affordable option. Telemedicine, also known as virtual care, is offered from MDLIVE through HIPAA-secure video, phone, and mobile app with 24/7 access to a U.S. board-certified and licensed primary care doctor who can treat non-emergency medical conditions. Telemedicine services from your primary care doctor are covered at no cost through December 31, 2020.¹ You can also schedule a same-day appointment with a doctor 24/7 with MDLIVE at no cost through December 31, 2020.¹ MDLIVE doctors can assess your symptoms and help with next steps so you can get better soon. Register or log in at

If you are a Medicare Advantage member, please see below section.

Get treatment. Most people with the flu experience mild illness and do not require medical care. If you do get sick with flu symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. However, if you have symptoms of the flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick, contact your doctor to discuss whether antiviral drugs may be a treatment option. Antiviral drugs work best when started as soon as possible after flu illness begins and can decrease symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can help prevent serious complications like pneumonia. To see what your plan covers, call the number on the back of your member ID card for more information about your benefits.

Medicare Advantage members

People 65 years and older are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu and account for most hospitalizations and death from seasonal flu-related complications. Here's what you can do to stay healthy.

Protect your health. The best way to protect yourself against seasonal flu is with a flu vaccine. Medicare Advantage members are covered for a flu shot once per year. If you receive your flu shot at an out-of-network provider and pay out of pocket, you may apply for reimbursement:

Get care. Telemedicine medical visits through MDLIVE are available to Medicare Advantage members with no copay. To see what your plan covers, call the number on the back of your member ID card for more information about your benefits.

Get tested. Our Medicare Advantage health plans cover medically necessary clinical diagnostic laboratory tests when a primary care physician or practitioner orders them. Members will pay nothing in network for Medicare-covered clinical diagnostic laboratory tests.

1 Please note: For employers who are self-insured, coverages may vary. If you have coverage through your employer, please check with them about how these programs apply.

MDLIVE is an independent company.

Y0041_HM_92912_2020 Website last updated: 10/15/2020

Independence Blue Cross offers products through its subsidiaries Independence Hospital Indemnity Plan, Keystone Health Plan East and QCC Insurance Company — independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Notice of nondiscrimination