FSA Friday - 8/17/18 - People aren't messing around with the flu anymore

Happy Friday, everyone! It seems like just yesterday we were discussing the endless flu concerns from 2017-18, but here we are staring 2019 in the face, and the conversation is starting to pick up steam again.

CVS Health Survey Finds Consumers More Likely to Get Vaccinated Following Last Year's Record Breaking Flu Season - Press Release, CVS Pharmacy

We can't blame anyone for talking about it -- last year's flu season was one of the worst on record. But thankfully, it seems like we might have a better handle on the upcoming year. A new survey from CVS Health shows that 22% of surveyed customers who didn't get a flu vaccine in 2017 are ready to do it this time around.

Even more encouraging, 26% of parents with children under 18 who didn't get them immunized last year have also had a change of heart, thanks to last year's record-setting totals.

What isn't encouraging is how many surveyed customers (67%!) admitted they would still go to work if they had flu-like symptoms -- which is kind of why these flu seasons have gotten more dangerous over the years. And it seems like a lot of it centers on work and fear.

Of this group, 44% said it was because they didn't want to use PTO for illness. But 38% claimed they were worried about lost wages and 37% because their bosses would expect them to be there.

Our question is how much of this illness could be avoided if they were immunized? Because the survey also highlighted a number of reasons why people don't get the flu vaccine each year -- and a lot of the answers center on money and convenience, even though you can get the flu vaccine at just about any medical center or pharmacy in the nation.

More importantly, the flu vaccine is considered a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B. So, there doesn't seem to be much excuse for avoiding the immunization, right?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees, which is why August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The CDC uses this month to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages -- from adolescents to seniors -- to raise awareness and help prevent the spread of things like the flu.

And even though the month is about all immunizations, not just the flu, the CDC believes 2-3 million deaths could be avoided each year through proper vaccination. And that's why most vaccinations that cost money are eligible to get with your FSA (although most insurance plans should cover it up front).

Now, of course, we're not doctors, and aren't looking to give you medical advice. Always check with your doctor before making decisions about your family's vaccinations. But if you're cleared to get vaccinated, strongly consider it before the upcoming flu season hits full stride.

FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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