While health insurance plans often cover allergy shots, they can still cost between $1,000 and $4,000 per year. Without insurance, this number can be even higher.
Allergy shot immunotherapy is an effective long-term treatment for chronic allergies—but, with frequent visits to the doctor’s office and a hefty price tag, it isn’t the best fit for everyone.
In this article, we’ll unpack all you need to know about allergy immunotherapy: the costs, the commitment, the results, and more. We’ll also offer some guidance on other effective allergy treatments, including Quello’s at-home allergy drops, to speed you on your way to allergy-free living.
Let’s jump in!
What Are Allergy Shots?
Allergy shots are a long-term immunotherapy treatment for chronic allergies that help you build immunity against common allergens like pollen, pet dander, dust, and mold.
Each allergy shot contains trace amounts of the substances you’re allergic to: not enough to cause a full-blown allergic reaction, but still enough to activate your immune system. As time passes, the amount of allergens in the shots gradually increases. This ongoing, controlled exposure slowly desensitizes your body to the allergen, lessening—and eventually eliminating—your allergy symptoms.
Allergy shots are highly effective because they address the root cause of your allergies instead of temporarily masking the symptoms.
Are Allergy Shots Covered by Insurance?
Most health insurance companies, as well as Medicare and most Medicare Advantage plans, do cover part of the costs associated with allergy shots, including the serum and office visit fees. However, most insurance companies will charge a copay per shot.
The amount of coverage, as well as the patient's financial responsibility (in the form of copays, coinsurance, or a deductible), varies depending on the specific plan.
How Much Do Allergy Shots Cost With Insurance?
Though the exact amount will vary based on your insurance plan, the cost of an allergy shot is about $100 per dose, and the cost of administering a dose typically ranges from $20 to $100. Because frequent trips to the clinic are a necessity during the first few months of allergy shots, those costs can add up quickly, often topping $1,000 per year.
Depending on your insurance, you may have to pay the full cost of shots until you reach your deductible. Even once you’ve met your deductible, you’ll likely still be responsible for a copay (typically up to $20) for each office visit.
Some other costs to consider include:
Allergy testing (this test, which is administered by your doctor, is sometimes covered by insurance)
Transportation to and from the clinic
Time away from work (so that you can stick to a strict schedule for your shots)
Despite these expenses, allergy shots can be more cost-effective than continuing to treat your allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. However, a treatment like Quello allergy drops—which comes with a free at-home test kit—might just be the most affordable and convenient way to overcome your allergies for good.
How Much Do Allergy Shots Cost Without Insurance?
Without insurance, you’ll be responsible for the full price of allergy shots, including the cost of the serum and the administration of the dose. While the exact amount will depend on the specifics of your health insurance plan and the frequency of your treatment, annual costs can range from $1,000 to $4,000 or more.
As your immune system is gradually desensitized to your allergy triggers, you won’t have to go to the doctor’s office for shots as often. Once you reach this point (for most people, this takes 3 to 6 months), your annual spending on allergy shots will decrease.
It’s important to note that many allergists offer a discount for cash payments, as well as payment plans for patients who are uninsured or under-insured. If you’re looking to save on your allergy treatment, speak with your medical provider about payment plan options for allergy shots.
How Frequently Do You Need Allergy Shots?
The frequency of your allergy shots will vary depending on your specific treatment plan. No matter what, though, building allergy immunity through allergy shots involves two phases:
The buildup phase: For the first three to six months, you’ll receive allergy shots one to three times per week. During these visits, the allergen dose gradually increases with each injection until the optimal level is reached.
The maintenance phase: Over the next three to five years, the allergy shot dose stabilizes and eventually decreases until you only need one injection per month.
The dosing period differs based on several factors, including:
The severity of your allergies
Any side effects you’re experiencing
Immunotherapy works slowly, gradually altering the immune system and decreasing sensitivity. Results are ultimately long-lasting, but patients often don’t experience noticeable relief until the second year of allergy shot treatment!
Are Allergy Shots Effective?
While you might not experience noticeable improvements in your allergy symptoms for a year or more, allergy shots do offer lasting relief. In fact, eight out of ten allergy shot patients experience long-term relief from seasonal allergies after completing treatment—that’s an 80% efficacy rate.
Each patient is different. Some people experience continued relief after finishing treatment. Some people still have to use antihistamines, nasal sprays, or other medications to treat their allergy symptoms. And some people occasionally experience a relapse once they stop allergy shots.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider when it comes to allergy shots:
Allergy shots can cure your allergies because they treat the cause.
Experiencing lasting relief requires a long-term commitment.
Allergy shots help you save money long-term on over-the-counter and prescription treatments.
Allergy shots are more costly upfront.
Allergy shots are an effective preventative treatment for children over the age of 5.
Allergy shots require you to visit a medical office often.
Allergy shots can treat a variety of symptoms and reactions at one time.
Allergy shots come with a variety of possible side effects including anaphylaxis, pain and redness at the injection site, swelling, and itching.
Allergy Shot Alternatives
While allergy shots are an effective treatment for chronic allergies, they’re certainly not the only treatment. Because every allergy patient is different, managing allergies is a bit of an art form. That’s why it’s important to consult an allergy specialist to find an effective treatment plan that suits your needs and lifestyle.
Here are several alternative allergy treatments that your allergy specialist may recommend to help ease frustration symptoms like congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing:
Common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications, including Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec, help ease and treat symptoms like congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. These drugs typically include antihistamines which decrease the immune system’s reaction when exposed to common allergens like pet dander, pollen, mold, and dust.
If your allergy symptoms aren’t responding to OTC allergy medication or your symptoms affect your daily activities, your medical provider may recommend prescription medications like steroids, mast cell stabilizers, or leukotriene modifiers. Sometimes, these prescription medications are simply stronger versions of what you can purchase over the counter; sometimes, they work differently than OTC options.
Home remedies for allergies have their advantages—few side effects, versatility, and ease of use, to name a few. Depending on your specific allergy sensitivities, natural allergy solutions like inhaling steam, installing an air filter, or using a neti pot can be effective ways to reduce your symptoms. Often, pairing a home remedy with a long-term treatment like Quello’s allergy drops is your best bet at overcoming pesky allergy symptoms.
The simplest way to treat your allergies is by reducing your exposure to allergens. For instance, if you know you’re allergic to dust mites, cleaning your house and washing your bedding regularly may reduce your symptoms. Here are some other ways to lessen exposure to common allergens:
Purchase dust mite covers for your mattress and pillows.
Purchase a dehumidifier or air purifier.
Keep your windows closed on high pollen count days.
Remove shoes and outerwear as soon as you come inside.
Schedule professional mold testing for your home.
Consider replacing carpets with hard flooring.
Nasal irrigation, also called sinus rinsing, helps alleviate allergy symptoms by flushing out allergens and excess mucus in your sinus passages with salt water or saline solution. The most common form of nasal irrigation is a neti pot, something you can purchase online or at a drugstore, but some people opt for saline solution sprays.
Allergy Drops (Sublingual Immunotherapy)
Allergy drops aren’t just an effective path to long-term allergy relief—they’re also the most convenient!
Allergy drops are based on the same concept as allergy shots. However, instead of getting needled at a doctor’s office, you’ll simply take your customized allergy drops at home by placing a few drops under your tongue each day. Just like allergy shots, allergy drops expose your immune system to your specific triggers, gradually desensitizing your body’s response to these intruders and alleviating your allergy symptoms—for good.
Here are a few key benefits of allergy drops:
Convenience. Quello allergy drops are super convenient because you take them at home. Not only is this a more comfortable experience overall, but you also don’t have to waste time driving to a doctor’s office, sitting in a waiting room, and getting multiple shots each week.
Safety. Providers like Quello use a single-prick, at-home allergy test to determine your allergens. Tests that are administered in clinics often use more than one prick, causing your symptoms to flare up.
Expert support. Many allergy drop providers are available to answer questions anytime. Quello offers 24/7 online support—no appointment necessary!
Cost of Allergy Drops
Maybe you’ve heard that health insurance plans don’t typically cover allergy drops. Don’t fret—while it’s true that health insurance plans don’t often cover the cost of allergy drops, this form of treatment is actually considered more cost-effective than allergy shots. Here’s why.
Similar to allergy shots, an allergy drop treatment plan usually lasts about three to five years. According to Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, allergy drops cost about $2 per day for the average patient—about $730 per year and this number can vary depending on what state and provider you use. Keep in mind, though, that there’s no copay for any of these treatments, no office visits, and no administration fees. You also won’t be missing school or work or spending money on transportation to get to a doctor’s office for each treatment.
Most allergy drop patients experience long-lasting relief from their allergies. That means they’re not purchasing as many over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications or investing in other allergy remedies, saving you ample money in the long run.
Enjoy Shot-Free Allergy Relief With Quello
Allergy treatment can be frustrating, inconvenient, and expensive—but not with Quello! Our personalized, at-home allergy treatments are designed with your lifestyle in mind. We’re talking long-lasting relief with no shots or side effects, all from the comfort of your own home.
Getting started with Quello’s allergy drops is delightfully simple:
Complete your at-home allergy blood test.
Send it our way. We’ll create personalized allergy drops and ship them straight to your door.
Take your drops daily. Then do a little happy dance as you wave farewell to your allergies for good!
With our convenient, expert-backed solutions, we’ve helped thousands of people gain freedom from their allergies. If you’re ready to join the celebration, get your free at-home allergy test kit today!
As allergy specialists, we see firsthand how allergies force people to change the way they live— whether it’s avoiding activities they love, being tied to clinic visits, or suffering through side effects of treatment.