(HealthyExaminer.com) – Research from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association reports that over 2.9 billion visits were made to retail locations to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The average American pays at least $338 each year on OTC drugs. If you are one of the millions of Americans who spend that much or more on OTC medications each month, you may be able to save money.
The Medicare Advantage savings plan was created by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This savings plan provides assistance to consumers to help pay for the cost of OTC medications. Read on to learn about the Medicare OTC Drug card, where to get one, how it works, and how it can help you save money on your medication.
How to Access a Medicare OTC Drug Card
The primary purpose of Medicare is to help low-income, disabled, and elderly individuals afford health-related expenses, but it does not cover OTC medications, which are used regularly by many households. Non-prescription drugs, while helpful for treating symptoms, are not covered by Medicare and can be a strain on a family’s budget.
Individuals and families who have concerns about being able to afford OTC drugs can apply for the Medicare Advantage Plan. Qualifying recipients receive an OTC drug card, among other benefits, to help afford the cost of healthcare.
How to Activate and Check Your Card Balance
Medicare OTC drug cards are inactive until you receive and activate them. The card issuer will provide information on how to activate your card, but you can also speak to your insurance provider or check online for more information about how to activate your card from purchases. Have the card number handy before beginning the activation process as you’ll need to verify it to continue.
To check the balance on your card, most OTC drug cards will list a phone number that you can call to verify your remaining balance. You may also be able to check your balance online. Customer service is available to answer any questions you may have about your balance or benefits.
How the OTC Drug Card Works
Once you’ve activated your card, you can use it at participating pharmacies to supplement the cost of your non-prescription medications. With most of these plans, you must use the benefits or lose them each quarter. These plans allow consumers to afford cold medications, medical supplies, and other healthcare products.
It’s important to pay attention to the balance and the quarterly expiration date for your OTC drug card. Unused funds each quarter will expire, and a new balance will be applied. If you use all of your benefits during a quarter, you’ll need to wait for the next quarter for your balance to be reloaded.
Participating retail providers may include the following locations:
- Dollar General
- Family Dollar
Medicare OTC drug cards can also be used with some online pharmacies that offer deliver, which may include the following:
- Health Warehouse
- Planet Drugs Direct
- My OTC Store
- Blink Health
- What Can You Purchase With Your Card
The Medicare OTC drug cards can be used at participating locations, and the plan you enroll in should provide a list of all eligible items that can be purchased using your card. Some of the most common items include but are not limited to the following:
- Additional Health Products
- Wellness Products
- Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
- Pain relievers
- Antibiotic creams
- Wart eliminating products
- Cold medications
- Sleep aids
- Flu medication
- Orthopedic support
- Cough medications
- Denture-related products
- Digestive medications
- First-aid materials
Your insurance provider can supply you with a complete list of the items you can purchase using your card.
Not all Medicare Advantage Plans offer the Medicare OTC drug cards. Check your plan to determine what services it includes. If you need help affording your non-prescription medications, the Medicare Advantage plan may be the best choice for you. Speak to your insurance provider for more information on eligibility requirements, plan benefits, and how to begin the application process if you qualify.
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