OTC Drug Card: Benefits, Saving Opportunities, and More!

If you go to your local store, you may be seeing OTC drugs on sale. Many people don’t know what this is but it is important! Medicare Advantage plans have over-the-counter (OTC) drug cards that can help people handle the cost of OTC drugs. OTC drugs are also known as nonprescription medicine. That means it is medicine that you can buy without a doctor prescription. Drugs like this are safe and effective to use so long as you follow the directions on the label (and/or are used as directed by a healthcare professional). Not every Medicare Advantage plan is the same. That is why not every plan provides this benefit.

Understanding Medicare Advantage OTC Drug Cards

Medicare Advantage OTC cards are prepaid and are provided through the Medicare Advantage plan that you are a part of. This card can then be used to buy eligible OTC products at participating locations. You need to keep in mind that the items you can buy can vary by plan and provider! However, some of the items that you can buy can include:

  • Antibiotic creams/ointments
  • Band-Aids
  • Cold medications
  • Cough medications
  • Denture-related products
  • Digestive medications
  • Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
  • First-aid materials
  • Flu medication
  • Medications
  • Orthopedic support
  • Other Health Products
  • Other Wellness Products
  • Pain relievers
  • Sleep aids
  • Vitamins
  • Wart removal products

Since these cards are provided through your Medicare Advantage plan, then that means that your Medicare Advantage insurance plan provider is the one that will manage your card which includes reloading it with funds every month (depending on your plan terms). One of the best parts about this card is the fact that a majority of popular stores (and pharmacies) with OTC products accept these cards.

How Much Will Your Medicare Advantage OTC Drug Card Be?

The amount that you will get every month varies by plan. You will want to find the best plan by comparing your options. You can review different opportunities through tools online that help you compare your options!

Where Can You Use Your Medicare Advantage OTC Drug Card?

We may sound like a broken record, but the details of your Medicare Advantage OTC drug card will vary depending on your provider. So you will want to confirm qualifying locations with them. Typically you can accept to be able to use your card at locations like:

  • CVS
  • Dollar General
  • Family Dollar
  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Rite Aid
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

How to Get a Medicare Advantage OTC Drug Card?

Since the OTC drug card is a part of plans that offer them, how you receive a card will depend on your plan. For example, if you have a plan with the OTC drug card benefit, you will get your card after you enroll in the plan when you get your plan information like materials, policy cards, etc.

Once you get your Medicare Advantage OTC drug card, your provider will give you information about the card’s benefits, how to use it, etc. Some providers have a website that shows what products you can buy and locations that you can buy them from. If you have any questions you will want to get in touch with your Medicare Advantage insurance plan provider!

Can You Get an OTC Drug Card Without Medicare Advantage Coverage?

Sadly, an Original Medicare plan will not cover the cost of an OTC health product. This leaves people responsible for the cost of OTC products like the ones listed above. That is why if you are someone that uses OTC products often then you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan that provides these cards.

Commonly Asked Questions

When learning about Medicare Advantage OTC drug cards, you may have some questions. Others learning about these cards have had questions that you may have too!

How to Check Your Medicare Advantage OTC Drug Card Balance?

The best way to check your balance is by checking your plan’s website. Your card will also have a number on the back that you can call. It’s important to keep in mind that unused balances typically roll into the balance of the next month but that may not be the case for all plans.

Can You Use Your Medicare Advantage OTC Drug Card at online stores?

Maybe! It depends on the card you have but oftentimes your card will be accepted online. This can make buying OTC products easier than ever!

Understanding Medicare

We referred to Original Medicare earlier in the article. That is why we want to circle back to this now! Original Medicare refers to Parts A and B. This health insurance program can help people that are at least 65 years old or those that have a qualifying disability or disease. Medicare Part A refers to hospital insurance which covers hospital stays, nursing facilities, etc. On the other hand, Medicare Part B refers to medical insurance. This part covers certain doctor services, medical supplies, preventative services, outpatient care, etc.

There is also Medicare Part C that refers to Medicare Advantage Plans (like the ones that provide OTC drug cards) and Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D refers to prescription drug coverage. This can even include coverage that covers many recommended vaccines and shots.

What’s the Difference Between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

It’s important that you understand the difference between these two options. Original Medicare refers to Medicare Parts A and B. You will pay for the services as you get them. When you receive services, you will be responsible for paying a deductible at the beginning of each year. Typically, you will pay 20% of the cost of qualifying services (known as coinsurance). If you want additional coverage, you will need to get medicare Part D. Original Medicare handles a lot of health care services (and supplies). However, there may be remaining health care costs that you need to deal with. That is why you may benefit from getting a Medigap policy to cover services that Original Medicare coverage doesn’t cover.

On the other hand, Medicare Advantage is a Medicare-approved plan that is offered by private companies. This is another option compared to an Original Medicare plan for your health (and drug) coverage. These plans are “bundled” so includes Parts A, B, and (typically) D. Medicare Advantage plans have yearly contracts that comply with Medicare coverage rules!

Bottom Line

OTC drug cards are offered by Medicare Advantage providers (that are private insurance companies). These cards can be used to cover expenses like OTC products. This can include:

  • Antibiotic creams/ointments
  • Band-Aids
  • Cold medications
  • Cough medications
  • Denture-related products
  • Digestive medications
  • Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
  • First-aid materials
  • Flu medication
  • Medications
  • Orthopedic support
  • Other Health Products
  • Other Wellness Products
  • Pain relievers
  • Sleep aids
  • Vitamins
  • Wart removal products

However, it varies by plan and provider so you will need to check details. You can use free online tools to compare your options to find the best one for your lifestyle.

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