If you are concerned about whether or not your vaccines are up-to-date but think you will have to pay for your immunizations out-of-pocket, you may be surprised. Some vaccines are required by law to be covered by most insurers, including the Health Insurance Market Place plans. Here are three vaccine-preventable diseases for which you can receive a free immunization in the United States:

Measles

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) can be prevented by the aptly named MMR vaccine. A single dose of the vaccine is effective in approximately 93 out of 100 cases of measles virus exposure. Two doses are effective in about 97 out 100 cases of exposure. There has been a 99 percent reduction in measles diagnoses since the vaccine's use. In fact, only 668 American people were diagnosed with the disease in 2014, and the majority of these instances were associated with a case that originated outside of the U.S.

Who should be vaccinated?

  • Toddlers ages 12 and 15 months 
  • Children ages 4 to 6 years 
  • College students and adults with no evidence of immunity
  • Anyone age 4 months or older who does not have evidence of immunity and is traveling outside the U.S.

Influenza

In 31 flu seasons between 1976 and 2007, the number of deaths associated with influenza ranged from 3,000 to 49,000. Most deaths from the flu affect people who are 65 years old or older.  Flu vaccines promote the development of antibodies that combat the virus. 

Who should be vaccinated?

People who are 6 months old and older every flu season

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The HPV vaccines are provided through a series of shots over a six-month period to prevent HPV, which is the most common sexually-transmitted infection in the United States. Currently, about 79 million American people are infected by HPV.

The vaccines are often provided to girls and young women for cancer prevention. Cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus have been associated with human papillomavirus. Some of the vaccines also provide protection against anal cancer and genital warts in boys. 

Who should be vaccinated?

  • Kids ages 11 to 12
  • Young women up to age 26 
  • Young men up to age 21
  • Men who have sex with other men up to age 26

At least six diseases that are preventable by vaccine were identified in a summary from the national Consensus Conference for Vaccine-preventable Disease in Canada to promote disease reduction and immunization coverage. Insurance coverage of immunizations has improved over time. If you believe your vaccines are out-of-date, contact your health insurance provider to verify coverage so that you can be immunized as soon as possible.

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