Use It or Lose It: Understanding Medicare OTC Drug Cards

Save More Money: How OTC Drug Cards Can Benefit You

( – According to a Consumer Health Products Association study, more than 2.9 billion store visits were made to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Fortunately, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has created a Medicare Advantage savings plan that allows you to cover over-the-counter medical expenses.  If you’re one of the millions of Americans who spend a lot of money on over-the-counter medications, you can save money every time you visit. You can read on to learn more about the Medicare OTC prescription card, where to get it, and how it works.

How to Get Your Medicare OTC Drug Card

Applying for a Medicare Advantage plan may help people buy over-the-counter drugs without worrying about affordability. The primary purpose of Medicare is to cover the medical expenses of people with health problems, not to help purchase over-the-counter medicines. Thus, those who receive these benefits are still responsible for purchasing over-the-counter medicines from pharmacies. That said, there are plans that provide this much needed benefit.

How Does the OTC Card Work?

Once your card is activated, you can use it to pay for over-the-counter medicines at pharmacies. Most plans offer OTC drug cards with a monthly “use it or lose it” program that allows them to pay for cold medication, medical supplies, and more.

When the quarterly time limit expires, the unused balance on the card will expire, and a new credit will be applied. Also, if you use all the benefits available on the card, you will have to wait for the balance to be returned.

Most doctors have a list of places where they will allow the card to be used. Some places include:

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

These cards can also be used with some online pharmacies that deliver. These include:

  • Planet Drugs Direct
  • My OTC Store
  • Health Warehouse

What Can You Purchase With Your Card?

A Medicare OTC card can be used to buy prescription drugs at specific locations. The plan you subscribe to must include all eligible items you can purchase with the card. Products include:

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

This list is just the start of the items you can use the card to purchase. For a complete list, speak with your insurance provider.

Activating and Checking Your Card Balance

Cards only work once you receive them, so they must be activated before purchase. Usually, the publisher will provide information on how to do this, but if not, you can talk to your doctor or look online for more information. Make sure you have your access card before calling so the process goes smoothly.

Checking the balance on the card is easy. Most OTC prescription cards have a number you can use to check your credit. You can also check your balance online. If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the customer.

Only some Medicare Advantage plans offer Medicare OTC drug cards, so checking what your plan covers is essential. If you find yourself spending a lot of money on OTC drugs and need coverage for those purchases, then a Medicare Advantage plan may be right for you. The best option for you. Talk to your health care provider to learn more about the rights and features covered by these plans. Remember, no one should go without necessary medication due to a lack of funding.

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