Whether you need a cough and cold remedy, allergy meds, vitamins or any other drugstore medications, these tips ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Nab 75 percent off generics.
Generic versions of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines work just as effectively as their name-brand equivalents because they have the same type and amount of active ingredients for about 73 percent of the cost! For the best deals, visit Amazon’s Basic Care store at Amazon.com/BasicCare; they have a wide selection of Amazon brand OTCs, from cough medicine to sleep aids, for up to 75 percent less than competing drugstores’ brands. Prefer to shop in person? Head to Walmart, where you’ll save up to 50 percent more on generic OTCs than at other pharmacies.
Get an Rx to score a deal.
Take vitamins or OTC treatments for allergies, heartburn, or other chronic issues? You could save big by asking your doctor to write a prescription for them. Many are available in nonprescription strength from your pharmacist (like antihistamine Xyzal and vitamin D), which means if your insurance covers prescriptions, you could pay less with your copay than you would retail. No health insurance? An Rx could still help you save because many prescription coupon websites (like GoodRx.com) offer discounts on prescribed OTCs as long as you pay for them at the pharmacy counter.
Score freebies with this.
If you’ve got a Medicare Advantage plan (also called Medicare Part C), you already know it will help pay for your prescription drugs. But, your plan may also cover a certain amount of OTC meds and vitamins with a $0 copay-in fact, 51 percent of enrollees currently have this benefit. Enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t cover OTCs? Between January 1 and March 31 each year, you can switch to a plan that comes with this coverage. Learn more at Medicare.gov/plan-compare.
Use this to keep more cash.
If you have a health savings account (HSA) or medical flexible spending account (FSA), you’ve probably saved hundreds of dollars on income taxes by using it to pay for prescriptions and medical expenses since it counts as a deduction that lowers your adjusted gross income. Now there’s even more reason to contribute: Thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you can use this pre-tax money to pay for an array of OTC medications, including for coughs and colds, pain, allergies and heartburn. To learn what’s eligible, visit CVS.com/shop/content/FSA.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.