Everyone who contacts us has concerns about costs, and vaccines are more
expensive than they used to be. The best first step (and actually a
bargain) in determining costs is to establish a plan based on your
individual situation at the time of an office visit. Armed with
recommendations, you can then price shop for vaccines and medicines if
you wish. You are in charge of how you spend your money and what you put
into your body.
Cost depends on what you choose, which depends on what is recommended,
which in turn depends on where you are going and for how long, what you
are doing there and your prior immunization history. Most trips for most
travelers could cost only the visit fee to a few hundred dollars,
depending on the details. Take a look at the Traveler Letter, Financial Policy and List
of Services on our website. What you need most is a plan, then you can
choose what to do based on need, effectiveness of intervention, side
effects and cost. You can get vaccines any number of places and are free
to price shop if you have time.
Nearly all travel clinics operate on a cash basis and do not bill
insurance. The Travel Clinic has a hybrid system, and expects payment of
a deposit at the time services are rendered. We will bill insurance.
When payment is received for a service, your deposit is returned to you as a
Some insurance contracts specifically exclude travel medicine services.
We bill under Dr. Wilson's name and do not identify ourselves as a
travel medicine provider to insurance companies. Office visits with Dr.
Wilson are generally covered like an office visit to any other provider.
Vaccines used only for travel outside the US include vaccines for
yellow fever, typhoid fever and Japanese encephalitis. Rabies vaccine
might be considered to be in this category. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B,
MMR, influenza and meningococcal vaccines may be important for travelers
as well as non-travelers, and are often reimbursed by some insurance
companies, even if their member is traveling. I suggest not calling
insurance companies most of the time, and if you do, do not tell them
you are traveling. Keep in mind that calls to insurance companies may be
misleading and are not binding. Guess who benefits if you call your
insurance company, you tell them you are traveling, they say they don't
cover travel concerns, then you receive needed services and they are not
billed for them. PacificSource is particularly bad about this. We won't
really know what your insurance will pay on a given service until you
receive the service, we bill insurance and they send payment to us with
attached Explanation of Benefits (EOB).
Services we provide are usually not reimbursed by Trillium, Oregon
Health Plan and Medicaid. Lifewise and Medicare based insurance plans
may soon be in this category. Most major insurance companies (Regence,
Providence and PacificSource, among others) will reimburse for most
domestic vaccines according to your contract with them.
Reimbursement by your insurance company will be determined by the
contract you have with them. If you want to know if your insurance
company will pay for a services, you should contact them. Just don't
tell them you are traveling (for most purposes).