4 ways to help save on health essentials

Buying over-the-counter (OTC) health essentials can add up fast. OTC medications are available without a prescription. So they’re convenient when small health problems arise. You might regularly buy allergy pills or skin creams, for example. Then, you need to buy the occasional cold or pain remedy too. And you still want to stock the basics such as rubbing alcohol and bandages. It can feel like a lot.

But you can help keep those expenses in check. Here are 4 ways you may be able to save money the next time you buy OTC products at the drugstore.

Money-saving tip #1: Buy generic OTC medications instead of name brands

Generic drugs are made the same way as the brand-name versions. But they cost less. For example, acetaminophen is the generic version of Tylenol. Ibuprofen is the generic name for Advil and Motrin.

Generic drugs are safe and effective, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.1 So there is no need to worry that the medicine won’t work. The packaging may look different, but the effects are the same.1

Money-saving tip #2: Join your drugstore’s loyalty program

Major drugstore chains offer membership programs at no additional cost. Those programs can save you money on OTC health care items. When you shop, you may earn rewards to spend on items you buy later. You can join these programs at the store, on their website or through the drugstore’s app.2

For instance, some drugstores give anywhere from 1% to 5% back on items you buy in the form of in-store credits. Those in-store credits can be used for future purchases. Or they may offer points that add up to cash savings. These programs also give people access to members-only coupons and other offers.2

UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members with a healthy food, OTC products and utility bills credit can download the UnitedHealthcare® app to view credit balance, use product scanner and more.

Money-saving tip #3: Take advantage of senior days

Some drugstore chains host senior days. That’s when older adults can buy special deals. And those deals can be significant. Some chains offer up to 20% off certain items.

And it’s not just drugstores that do this. Your grocery store may also have a senior day. They often sell OTC health care items too.

Money-saving tip #4: Your healthcare plan may offer an OTC credit.

Some health insurance plans come with a credit that can be used to buy OTC health care items. There is usually a wide variety of stores where the credit can be used. In some cases, the credit may even be applied to utility bills or groceries.

In addition to OTC drugs, sometimes other basic OTC items are covered, too. They may include things like:

  • Bandages and first-aid supplies
  • Bladder control pads
  • Cotton balls
  • Cough drops
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Heating pads
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

The credit usually has an expiration date, so you want to use it before then.

You don’t need to be overwhelmed by the cost of drugstore items. There are smart ways to save. And they may help both your health and your wallet.

Get more help with your everyday needs. Already a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members with an over-the-counter credit? Easily find covered health care products in-store by using the product scanner on the UnitedHealthcare app. Watch this video to learn more.

Already a UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Advantage member?

Get more help with everyday needs. Have an over-the-counter (OTC) credit? Learn how to get everyday health care products in-store or online.