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Medicare Advantage Over-the-Counter Drug Cards

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

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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
  • Band-Aids
  • 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.

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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:

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

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.

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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.

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.

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare guru serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

44 thoughts on "Medicare Advantage Over-the-Counter Drug Cards"

    1. Yes! You can use the card however you wish in store. As long as the item is covered and you have credit remaining.

  1. I just started my Medicare advantage plan thru Anthem on Jan 1, 2024. My plan has the OTDC card option, however I have not received the OTC card in the mail yet. I did however receive my Advantage Plan insurance card in December. Just no OTC card as of Jan 7th 2024

  2. My husband and I have Medicare Advantage that just became active Jan 1, 2024. One OTC card came in the mail to him. Do we only need one card?

  3. I had the otc card for the first two year and they stop sending it to me yes I have blue cross and blue shield Medicare advantage I would like to get my card

    1. Hi Barbara. You would have to contact your insurance company (Blue Cross Blue Shield) to get your OTC card If your carrier still participates in the OTC program. Each year, carriers are able to change their benefits, so your carrier may no longer provide OTC cards to enrollees. Contact us at the number above to review plans in your area that offer the OTC benefit.

  4. I am enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plan I have never received any information about getting the OTC card and I would like to have one Please tell me how to apply? It does not have any where on these pages to apply for it So what is the process and how long does it take to get one?

    1. Hi, Glenda! Great question, however, not all Medicare Advantage plans offer OTC cards. To receive a card, you must be enrolled in a plan that offers the benefit. If you would like to enroll in a plan that offers the OTC benefit, you’ll need to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period in the fall and see if there are OTC plans available in your area that also meet your healthcare needs.

    1. Nickole, you will need to contact your carrier. Most carriers have a form you will submit for reimbursement.

    1. Hi Debra! To receive a replacement care you will need to contact customer service for the carrier you are enrolled through.

    1. An Over-the-Counter card is available on certain Medicare Advantage plans. You’ll have to be sure a plan is available in your area that offers this benefit.

  5. How can I receive a OTC card? Can I print online? My insurance switch me from United Healthcare Dual complete to Humana I didn’t request and I don’t know why. How can I get the OTC card or print out online?

    1. Darleen, each carrier is different. Your best option is to call your carriers customer service line and they will be able to best answer your question.

    1. You will receive an OTC card if it is a benefit of your Medicare Advantage plan. If you are enrolled in a plan that provides this benefit and have not received a card, you should contact your carrier for a replacement card.

    1. Each Medicare Advantage carrier has specific locations where their cards are accepted as well as what can be bought with the card. It is possible that the OTC items you were attempting to purchase were not eligible to be bought by the card, or CVS and Walgreens are not contracted with your carrier. Either way, there should be a list of approved items and locations in your policy information packet. If you are unable to find this, I recommend reaching out to your carrier for a list of OC card approved items and locations.

  6. Trying to check balance but it keeps saying pw and id not matching! I have both written down, have tried too many —– times. I called earlier and was informed I was good. Not even close!!

    1. Dean, it sounds like you have been locked out of your account for having too many log-in failures. This could require a password reset. Often, you are able to reset your password online. Have you tried this yet?

  7. Hi – I’m confused friends of mine told me about the OTC program I have Medicare Health Insurance Part A and Part B am I eligible? If so how do I get started? Thank you

    1. Hi Debra – if you have Part A and Part B, you can look into Advantage plans that have the OTC drug card feature during the Annual Enrollment Period, which is currently going on through December 7.

  8. I have searched thru all the info sent to me after I signed up for the Community Blue PPO Medicare Advantage plan. I read where I am eligible for $75 per qrt. for OTC products. But no where does it state how the plan works, when I receive my card or even if I receive a card to pay for items. I’ve had the coverage now since Aug. 1. If I’m entitled to these benefits, why am I left to find out the details myself?

    1. Hi Mike! Unfortunately, we cannot help you with this. You’ll have to reach out to your carrier directly. They have their own guidelines for each plan they offer.

  9. I have only used the card 3 times and have a zero balance. when is the card renewed. Fifty dollars was to be replaced 4 times a year and looking the balance on line says the card ends 6/30 /2021

    1. Hi Gloria! You would need to reach out to your Medicare Advantage provider directly since this is per carrier and not standarized.

  10. My mom has Highmark Freedom Blue Medicare Advantage plan. How do I find out if they offer the OTC card?

    1. Hi Cindy! Your mom should’ve received a summary of benefits, you would find information on an OTC card in there if it’s included in the benefits.

  11. Lindsay,
    I have the BCBS Advantage plan with no monthly premium, and I did receive an otc card with $75 quarterly benefit. Cannot complain whatsoever.

    1. Hi Billy! The OTC amount varies between carriers and plans. You would need to look at your Summary of Benefits and/or contact the carrier directly to find out how much is included with your plan.

  12. 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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