Author Topic: Where to buy over-the-counter medicine?  (Read 2675 times)

cautiouslyunconventional

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Where to buy over-the-counter medicine?
« on: January 25, 2015, 12:06:21 PM »
I take a few over-the-counter medicines to keep my allergies under control, and I've been looking for ways to cut costs, because it's starting to add up.

Is it possible to get over-the-counter medicine covered by insurance if you take it regularly and get a prescription for it? This seems like the most obvious option, but I'm between insurances at the moment (changed jobs), so it might be another month or so til I can get an appointment and find out. Is this likely to be an option? (If not, I'll focus on finding other sources.)

The other thing I've been looking at is ordering in bulk online. This looks really promising for Mucinex - it's .50/pill at the store, but Amazon sometimes sells it for .30/pill or less. I suspect there would be other websites that offer an even better price, but there are so many sites selling things that I'm not sure where to look. Does anyone have a recommendation?

bdoubleu

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Re: Where to buy over-the-counter medicine?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 12:48:52 PM »
I don't believe you can necessarily get insurance to cover the cost (you would have to check with whatever insurance company you end up with - and you wouldn't need to see a physician before doing so).  If insurance DOES cover the cost, most physicians should be willing to write a prescription for an OTC item.  But I highly doubt insurance will cover OTCs.

However, I believe the rules for Flex Spending (FSA) is that, you can use those funds for OTC items if you have a valid prescription from a doctor.  So it's not entirely covered, but you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for it.  Small wins, I suppose.

I take generic Zyrtec and prescription Flonase daily - regarding price, we found Costco to have the best deals in our area on generic Zyrtec (I can't recall the price, hubs does the shopping).  Flonase is covered by my insurance for $15 copay - if you're on something like this, Nasacort (triamcinolone) nasal spray just went OTC, so would probably be cheaper without insurance (not sure, as Flonase is reasonable with my insurance).

Once you do have a good supply, watch for sales (usually BOGO) on OTC items.  Expiration dates are usually far out enough to have a good stash on hand.

mlipps

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Re: Where to buy over-the-counter medicine?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 12:56:47 PM »

However, I believe the rules for Flex Spending (FSA) is that, you can use those funds for OTC items if you have a valid prescription from a doctor.  So it's not entirely covered, but you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for it.  Small wins, I suppose.

I think they got rid of this a few years ago.

Have you tried the Dollar Stores (Family Dollar or Dollar General)? Also Big Lots. My mom buys all their medicine there, it's much cheaper. Aldi even has a few things now I think as well. Otherwise, I would expect Target or Costco to be the next cheapest place.

bdoubleu

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Re: Where to buy over-the-counter medicine?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2015, 07:43:31 PM »

However, I believe the rules for Flex Spending (FSA) is that, you can use those funds for OTC items if you have a valid prescription from a doctor.  So it's not entirely covered, but you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for it.  Small wins, I suppose.

I think they got rid of this a few years ago.

Have you tried the Dollar Stores (Family Dollar or Dollar General)? Also Big Lots. My mom buys all their medicine there, it's much cheaper. Aldi even has a few things now I think as well. Otherwise, I would expect Target or Costco to be the next cheapest place.

From healthcare.gov:
"You can spend FSA funds on prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter medicines with a doctor's prescription."

The old rules used to be that any OTC medical item was reimbursable by FSA funds.  The clarification of "with a doctor's prescription" was the "big" change a few years ago.

GeneralJinjur

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Re: Where to buy over-the-counter medicine?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2015, 08:17:00 PM »
I buy most of my generic OTCs at warehouse clubs and you bet I compare prices. Fake Claritin is under $10 for a year's supply (no joke -- my last bottle was 365 tablets) and fake Zyrtec was around $12. Store brand Mucinex is cheaper at my local Kroger chain than any of the others and Walgreen's brand was a close second.