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Medicare Advantage Over-the-Counter Drug Cards


Medicare Advantage over-the-counter drug cards help cover the cost of OTC drugs. Not every Medicare Advantage plan offers this benefit, and limitations vary between the plans that do. Below, we review everything there is to know about Medicare OTC cards, how they work, and where to use them.

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What is a Medicare Advantage OTC Card?

A Medicare Advantage over-the-counter drug card is a prepaid card administered by a Medicare Advantage plan. You can use this card is to purchase select OTC products at participating locations. Over-the-counter drug cards can be used to buy various health and wellness products, as well as medications, vitamins, durable medical equipment, and more.

Your Medicare Advantage insurance plan provider is in charge of reloading your Medicare OTC card each month depending on your plan’s benefits. Most major retail stores and pharmacies with OTC products accept these Medicare OTC cards, so utilizing your benefits should not be difficult.

How Can I Get a Medicare Advantage Over-the-Counter Drug Card?

Whether you receive a Medicare OTC card will depend on the Medicare plan you have. If you enroll in a plan with the OTC benefit, you will receive your card with your plan materials and policy cards after you first enroll.

Once you receive your Medicare OTC card, your carrier should provide you with a guide on how to use the card’s benefits. Your carrier will likely have a website that shows eligible products that you can buy and different locations that will accept your Medicare OTC card. Here, you will also be able to find details of your over-the-counter benefits and directions for how to buy OTC drugs and products.

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Do Medicare Advantage Policies Help Pay for Over-the-Counter Drugs?

Medicare OTC drug cards can provide you with an allowance for some OTC medical products. Each year, over-the-counter plan benefits become more popular as more beneficiaries on Medicare Advantage plans enroll in a plan with OTC benefits.

Often, Medicare Advantage carriers will partner with large retail pharmacies to provide discounts and OTC benefits to their policyholders. This entices beneficiaries to use over-the-counter benefits by making them more accessible. Some Medicare Advantage plans even include home delivery of your over-the-counter drugs and products.

Your Medicare OTC card balance and benefits will vary depending on your plan. For specific information, like a full list of benefits, eligible products, and locations, contact your insurer.

What Can I Purchase With my Medicare Advantage OTC Card?

Thankfully, getting your much-needed over-the-counter medications has never been easier. Always check your online Medicare OTC card catalog to see what products your plan covers.

Products covered can vary depending on your provider and plan.

But most policies include the following:

  • Cold and cough medications
  • Flu medication
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Band-Aids
  • Denture-related products
  • Digestive medications
  • First-aid materials
  • Orthopedic support
  • Pain relievers
  • Sleep aids
  • Wart removal products

For a complete list of what your plan covers, inquire with your plan provider.

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Where Can I Use My Medicare OTC Card?

Medicare OTC cards can be used at several major retailers nationwide. However, each carrier’s card might have different availability when it comes to approved locations. Different pharmacies and stores can provide you with the over-the-counter products you need, so before committing to a purchase, ensure your Medicare OTC card will work at the location.

Most OTC cards are accepted at these major locations:

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

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

Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not cover the cost of over-the-counter health products. Meaning you, the beneficiary, are responsible for 100% of the cost for things like cold and flu medicine, Band-Aids, etc.

So, if over-the-counter coverage is important to you, you will need to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. While not every Medicare Advantage plan offers the OTC benefit, many do. However, if additional benefits are not your main priority and you are looking to receive the most comprehensive health coverage, a Medicare Supplement plan might be best for you.

While Medicare Supplement plans do not offer flashy benefits, they do offer coverage nationwide, low out-of-pocket costs, and coverage when traveling internationally.

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FAQs

Can I use my Medicare over-the-counter card at online stores?
Thankfully, several online pharmacies accept OTC cards. By shopping online, you can receive your health products at your front doorstep.
How do I activate an over-the-counter drug card?
Activating your drug card should be an easy and smooth process. Your card will come with a pamphlet on how to enable it. You can always contact your policy’s customer care center if you need further help.
How can I check the over-the-counter drug card balance?
You can check your plan’s website or call the number on the back of your card. Remember that unused balances do not roll over into the next month’s balance.

How Do I Get a Medicare OTC Card?

At Medicare FAQ we want to ensure you are on the best coverage possible for your health care needs. For some, a Medicare plan with OTC benefits may be the best while others might end up saving more money without an OTC card.

To know for sure, our licensed Medicare insurance agents will go over several key indicators with you to recommend the most cost-effective plan for your needs. Call us at the number above or complete an online rate form. We are ready to assist you with all of your Medicare needs.

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Sources:

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Medicare Advantage OTC, CHPA. Accessed March 2022.
    https://www.chpa.org/news/2021/11/new-study-shows-medicare-advantage-otc-benefits-programs-help-enrollees-and-health
  2. Prescription Drug Coverage, CMS. Accessed March 2022.
    https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovContra/Downloads/QACY2007OTCsandUM_051206.pdf

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

24 thoughts on “Medicare Advantage Over-the-Counter Drug Cards

  1. I have a medicare advantage plan, I was told it would automatically renew as long as I wanted to keep the same plan, is this correct? Also I just read about Medicare Advantage over the counter bendefits card… I am assuming to have this benefit, it is only a part of certain plans, generally how much does your Medicare Advantage Premium go up to have a plan that includes the otcb card? Do you pick a certain amount? I just received a Humana Debit card/master card which must be spent by 12/31/2, will this happen again in 2021?

    1. Hi Rita! Yes, your Medicare Advantage plan will automatically renew. Each carrier decides if and how much they will give their enrollees on these cards. I have not seen many of these offered to zero-dollar premium plans, but that does not mean none of them offer it. Usually, the premium is at least $15 a month to offer OTC debit cards. I hope this helps!

      1. My new plan starts August 1st and I will be receiving $100 quarterly for OTC items. My premium is $0. It’s the AARP plan. I’m excited to be getting that benefit, just wish I hadn’t already restocked my first aid kit!

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