Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Did you know Masshealth covers over-the-counter drugs?

I recently learned that Masshealth covers a number of OTC drugs if you get a prescription for them. My primary care provider actually knew this when I brought it up, but hadn't ever informed me of it. My PCP was happy to write me prescriptions for iron, antacids, Aleve, and so forth. I did have a copay of $3.65 per prescription, so some of these products might be available cheaper through coupon stacking. If you're buying these things full-price though, most of them are quite a bit more than $3.65 for a month's supply. For children under 21, there is no copay, so definitely ask for prescriptions for any cold medications, Tylenol, etc. that your kids use.

The list of what they cover is here. I was pretty amazed at first to see that they cover a lot of medicine-cabinet items like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and hydrocortizone ointment, but then remembered the copay; these items are available at Dollar Tree, and even at CVS or Wegman's are less than $3.65. Still, it seems like a great public health policy to make them available and convenient, and I imagine it cuts down on things that just should not be happening in a wealthy country, like people developing massive infections because they couldn't afford first-aid supplies. The Masshealth guidelines do state that pharmacies and hospitals have to let members have their treatment even if they owe copays, so hopefully this policy combined with the OTC coverage is getting people what they need.

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