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Over-the-counter programs are a popular benefit that reduce the overall cost of care for members. OTC programs save time and money, making it easier and cheaper for members to access medicine. These programs are reducing the need for visits to primary care physicians, Urgent Care, and other providers to the sum of millions of dollars.
If clients inquire about their options, break it down in this way: would they rather go where they might have a copay for a condition easily remedied by non-prescription medicines, or would they rather go to a pharmacy for a fraction of the price? Programs give members access to medications, vitamins, and other health products online, via catalogs, or direct from their local pharmacies. Better yet, the costs are included in the member’s plan, meaning OTC items are “free” to members.
According to a study by First Line Benefits, those who utilized OTC saw reductions in:
- Hospital admissions
- ER visits
- Avoidable admissions
- Readmission (within 30 days)
On top of saving clients time and money, the plans have also saved money for health plans. In a recent study, an OTC program saved an estimated $10.5M for a 20,000-member plan over the course of one year.
Be sure to talk to clients about the benefits of an OTC program this AEP, and make sure your clients take advantage of all their benefits.