Are Allergy Shots Covered by Insurance?

Manoukian, MD, FAAAI, FACAAI
June 3, 2024
June 20, 2024

Allergies can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, leading to persistent sneezing, itchy eyes, and even severe respiratory issues. Allergy shots, also known as allergen immunotherapy, are a common and effective treatment that can provide long-term relief. However, one of the most pressing concerns for many patients is whether their insurance will cover the cost of these treatments. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of insurance coverage for allergy shots and how you can navigate this often confusing terrain.

Understanding Allergy Shots

Allergy shots work by gradually desensitizing the immune system to specific allergens. This process involves injecting small amounts of allergens into the body over a period of time, allowing the immune system to build up a tolerance. The treatment is typically administered in two phases:

1. Build-Up Phase: This initial phase involves receiving injections once or twice a week, with the dosage gradually increasing. This phase can last anywhere from three to six months.

2. Maintenance Phase: Once the effective dose is reached, the frequency of injections decreases to once every few weeks. This phase can continue for three to five years.

The Cost of Allergy Shots

The cost of allergy shots can vary widely depending on several factors, including the specific allergens being treated, the dosage required, and the geographical location. On average, the build-up phase can cost between $20 to $100 per visit, while the maintenance phase might cost $10 to $50 per visit. Over the course of treatment, the total cost can add up to several thousand dollars.

Insurance Coverage for Allergy Shots

When it comes to insurance coverage, the specifics can vary based on the provider and the individual insurance plan. Generally, most insurance plans cover allergy shots, but the extent of coverage and the out-of-pocket costs can differ. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Coverage Criteria

Insurance companies typically require a formal diagnosis of allergies and a recommendation from a healthcare provider for immunotherapy. This means you may need to undergo allergy testing and a consultation with an allergist to qualify for coverage.

2. In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Providers

Insurance plans usually cover a higher percentage of costs if you receive treatment from an in-network provider. It’s essential to verify whether your allergist is in-network to maximize your benefits and minimize out-of-pocket expenses.

3. Deductibles and Co-Payments

Even with insurance coverage, patients may still be responsible for meeting their annual deductibles and paying co-payments or co-insurance for each visit. Understanding these costs is crucial for budgeting your treatment expenses.

4. Pre-Authorization Requirements

Some insurance plans may require pre-authorization before beginning allergy shot treatment. This means your healthcare provider will need to submit a request to the insurance company for approval.

5. Coverage Limits

It’s important to check if there are any coverage limits on the number of allergy shots or the duration of treatment. Some plans might have a cap on the total number of visits covered annually.

Table: Key Points on Insurance Coverage for Allergy Shots

Aspect Details
Diagnosis Requirement Formal diagnosis of allergies and recommendation from a healthcare provider
In-Network Providers Higher coverage and lower out-of-pocket costs with in-network providers
Deductibles and Co-Payments Patients responsible for annual deductibles and co-payments for each visit
Pre-Authorization Some plans require pre-authorization before starting treatment
Coverage Limits Check for any limits on the number of visits or duration of treatment covered
Average Cost (Build-Up Phase) $20 to $100 per visit
Average Cost (Maintenance Phase) $10 to $50 per visit
Alternative Payment Options HSAs, FSAs, payment plans, and financial assistance programs
Steps to Ensure Coverage Review policy, consult healthcare provider, contact insurance, keep records, appeal if necessary

Steps to Ensure Coverage for Allergy Shots

Navigating insurance coverage for allergy shots can be challenging, but taking the following steps can help streamline the process:

1. Review Your Insurance Policy: Start by thoroughly reviewing your insurance policy to understand the specifics of your coverage. Look for sections related to allergy treatments and immunotherapy.

2. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider: Discuss your treatment plan with your allergist and ensure they provide the necessary documentation and diagnosis required by your insurance company.

3. Contact Your Insurance Provider: Reach out to your insurance provider to confirm coverage details, including any pre-authorization requirements, in-network providers, and out-of-pocket costs.

4. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain records of all communications with your insurance provider, as well as any paperwork related to your treatment and coverage.

5. Appeal if Necessary: If your initial claim is denied, don’t hesitate to file an appeal. Provide additional documentation and a letter from your healthcare provider to support your case.

Alternative Options for Managing Allergy Treatment Costs

If your insurance does not fully cover the cost of allergy shots, or if you have high out-of-pocket expenses, there are alternative options to consider:

1. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs): These accounts allow you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses, including allergy shots.

2. Payment Plans: Some healthcare providers offer payment plans that allow you to spread the cost of treatment over several months, making it more manageable.

3. Financial Assistance Programs: Check if there are any financial assistance programs or grants available through allergy advocacy organizations or local healthcare facilities.


Understanding whether allergy shots are covered by insurance is crucial for planning your treatment and managing your healthcare expenses. By reviewing your insurance policy, consulting with your healthcare provider, and taking proactive steps to ensure coverage, you can make informed decisions about your allergy treatment.

If you are struggling with allergies and considering allergy shots, HeyAllergy offers a convenient and comprehensive solution through our online telemedicine service. Book an appointment today with HeyAllergy to discuss your symptoms, treatment options, and insurance coverage with our expert allergists. Let us help you take the first step towards a healthier, allergy-free life.