Over-the-counter items or OTC card for short are medicines or products that are used to aid in the treatment or management of certain health conditions or for general health and wellness. These items are called over-the-counter items because they usually do not require a prescription to acquire – you can typically order them by picking them up in-store or requesting them “over-the-counter” from your local pharmacy.
Some popular OTC items include vitamins, cold and flu medicines, pain medicines, sleep aids, allergy medicines, and more.
Some Medicare plans can be more flexible about what items they allow for purchase with the OTC card. Some plans allow medical supplies like shower rails, home diagnostic tests and kits, braces, and supports (for wrist, ankle, knee, elbow, etc.), first aid items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and more. What is allowed will depend on who the carrier is for the Medicare Advantage plan benefits.
Debit Card, Catalog, Online Orders, Phone Orders. What is it?
The OTC card is a prepaid debit card that comes with some Medicare Advantage plans. The card is preloaded monthly or quarterly with money that can be used to purchase plan-approved OTC items at in-network locations. Generally, the plan will provide a prepaid debit card that can be used at in-network retailers, however, some plans provide a catalog instead. This catalog allows for browsing and then placing orders online or over the phone to be shipped.
How To Get One
Step 1. The first step in getting an OTC card benefit is to ensure one is available in your zip code. There are some counties and regions that don’t offer Medicare Advantage plans and some Medicare Advantage plans don’t offer an OTC card. Speak to a licensed Medicare advocate to figure out what is available where you live.
Step 2. You must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and Part B. The OTC Card benefit is only offered through a Medicare Advantage plan and to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must have both Medicare Part A and Part B.
Step 3. Ensure the plan has the highest amount of OTC available in the area. Not all Medicare Advantage plans have the same amount of OTC benefit. Some plans have more than others because they are offered by competing Medicare Advantage insurance carriers.
We Can Help!
Here at Senior Healthcare Advisors, we specialize in maximizing Medicare benefits! We are here to guide you in understanding and enrolling in the Medicare benefits that you are entitled to and qualify for. Give us a call today!