Summary: Medicare Advantage OTC cards provide additional resources to help cover the cost of specific items at participating locations. Items can include various health and wellness products, medications, vitamins, and more. Estimated Read Time: 5 min
OTC Medicare cards help cover the cost of over-the-counter drugs for individuals enrolled in certain Medicare Advantage plans. Not every Medicare Advantage plan offers this benefit, and limitations vary between the plans that do. Learn more about the OTC card Medicare Advantage plans can offer, including how they work and where to use them.
What is an OTC Card?
An OTC Medicare card is provided by private insurance carriers through Medicare Advantage plans. Not all Medicare Advantage plans offer OTC cards, and benefits may be limited by the carrier. You can use this card to purchase select over-the-counter products at participating locations. This includes various health and wellness products, medications, vitamins, durable medical equipment (DME), 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 cards, so utilizing your benefits should not be difficult. However, they are not universally accepted.
OTC Medicare Benefits
Your Medicare OTC card covers select over-the-counter medical products. Each year, Medicare OTC benefits become more popular as more seniors on Medicare Advantage plans enroll in a plan with these benefits.
Many retail pharmacies partner with Medicare Advantage carriers to provide policyholders with discounts and OTC benefits. Making benefits more accessible is a great incentive for seniors to use them more often. Some Medicare Advantage plans also include home delivery of your over-the-counter drugs and products.
While the specific items your card covers will vary due to where you use it, your provider, and more, seniors can still enjoy their benefits at many prominent chains.
List of What You Get with OTC Card
Products covered by Medicare OTC cards can vary depending on your provider and plan. However, there are several common items seniors can expect coverage for, like:
- Cold and cough medications
- Flu medication
- Antibiotic ointment
- Denture-related products
- Digestive medications
- First-aid materials
- Orthopedic support
- Pain relievers
- Sleep aids
- Wart removal products
Today, it’s easier than ever to get over-the-counter goods for your healthcare needs. For a complete list of what your plan covers, inquiring with your plan provider is the best way to know which over-the-counter items are specific to your benefits.
Where Can I Use My Medicare OTC Card?
Medicare OTC cards can be used at several major retailers nationwide. But again, because each carrier’s benefits may vary, so too can the availability of use for your specific card. Stores and pharmacies provide seniors with essential over-the-counter products, and this benefit can be a great one, but it does you no good if you can’t use it at your local shops.
Before choosing a Medicare Advantage plan with an OTC card, you’ll want to be sure that the places you shop at often accept your card.
Nevertheless, some major chains are more than likely to accept Medicare OTC cards throughout the United States, including a store near you. Here are some popular examples:
- Dollar General
- Family Dollar
- Rite Aid
Even with national chains, you’ll need to double-check individual locations near you to be sure your card is accepted.
Who Qualifies for OTC Card?
To receive a Medicare Advantage OTC card, you must qualify for Medicare coverage. For most, this means that you’ve reached the age of 65 and have worked for 10 years, or 40 quarters, while paying the Medicare tax.
Unfortunately, Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not cover the cost of over-the-counter health products. Meaning you are responsible for 100% of the cost of things like cold and flu medicine, Band-Aids, etc.
Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan can provide you with extra benefits, including coverage for over-the-counter items. While not every Medicare Advantage plan offers the OTC benefit, many do, but if additional benefits are not your main priority and you are looking to receive the most comprehensive health coverage, a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) might be best for you.
While Medigap plans don’t offer some of the same benefits, they do offer coverage nationwide, low out-of-pocket costs, and coverage when traveling internationally. They are a great option for seniors looking to supplement their healthcare coverage.
How to Activate OTC Card
Activating your Medicare Advantage OTC card is an easy and smooth process. Your card will come with instructions on activating it, as the exact steps may vary from carrier to carrier. You can also always contact your policy’s customer care center for additional assistance.
How Do I Check the Balance on My OTC Card?
You can check your OTC card balance by checking your plan’s website or calling the number on the back of your card. It’s important to remember to check your balance, as unused balances do not roll over into the next month’s balance.
Where Can I Use My OTC Card Online?
Several major chains accept Medicare OTC cards online. Some are listed above, and they can provide convenience for seniors looking to avoid the logistics of taking a ride to the store. Again, while many companies do allow such options, you’ll need to check around to see if your favorite stores are accepting your specific card online.
How to Apply for OTC Card?
Seniors can receive a Medicare OTC card depending on which Medicare Advantage plan they have. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with the OTC benefit, you will receive your card with your plan materials and policy cards after enrollment.
Once you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers OTC benefits, your carrier will provide you with a guide on how to use the card’s benefits. Most carriers also provide a website showing the eligible products that you can buy and different locations that will accept your card. Additionally, you will be able to find details of your over-the-counter benefits and directions for how to buy OTC drugs and products.
Here at MedicareFAQ, we want to ensure you are on the right coverage possible for your healthcare needs. For some, OTC card Medicare Advantage benefits, while for others, different plans offer better savings.
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.
- Medicare Advantage OTC, CHPA. Accessed March 2022.
- Prescription Drug Coverage, CMS. Accessed March 2022.