Healthfirst Announces New OTC Plus Card—with More Ways to Save and More Places to Use It—as Part of Its Medicare Advantage Offerings for 2022

Oct 01, 2021

New OTC Plus Card allowance can be used for items to promote a healthy lifestyle, from over-the-counter medications to healthy foods, Internet service, and fitness equipment and trackers

NEW YORK, October 1, 2021 – Healthfirst, one of the largest individual Medicare Advantage HMO plans in the New York metro area today announced its 2022 Medicare Advantage plans, which include over-the-counter (OTC) card allowances of up to $170 per month . A new OTC Plus card, available with the company’s Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs), can be used in more ways and in more places than typical OTC cards. It can be used for covered over-the-counter items as well as healthy foods, for Internet service, exercise equipment, activity trackers, and more based on the member’s specific health needs. The OTC Plus card is accepted at national chain pharmacies, independent pharmacies, specialty markets, and GrowNYC markets throughout the boroughs where healthy foods and produce can be purchased.

“When designing our Medicare Advantage plans this year, we truly took into account the needs and lifestyle of this population,” said Jennifer Cohen-Smith, Senior Vice President Medicare, Healthfirst. “They understand the benefits of eating healthier and exercising more, and they want to stay connected to family, friends, and their healthcare provider. We learned that 30% of our Medicare members did not have access to the Internet at home, which hinders their ability to get access to care through telemedicine and to coordinate care with electronic appointments and reminders. We aim to make it as easy as possible for New Yorkers to get the care they need, either digitally or where it is convenient for them—around the corner or around the world—and our extensive network of more than 100,000 provider locations allows for that accessibility.”

More Choices, More Ways to Personalize Plans to Live a Healthy and Happy Life

As part of the company’s mission to provide affordable health coverage and access to quality health benefits, Healthfirst offers a portfolio of 2022 Medicare Advantage plans featuring dental services for as low as $0, with coverage for dentures, crowns, root canals, and extractions – with no annual benefit minimum; hearing and vision benefits for as low as $0 for hearing aids and eyeglasses, and an eyewear allowance of up to $400 every year; an over-the-counter (OTC) allowance of up to $170 for covered items including covered OTC items, food; convenient at-home delivery for prescriptions, and 24/7 access to doctors by phone or video chat. Healthfirst Medicare Advantage members can access care when and where they need it at more than 100,000 in-network doctor, hospital, and urgent care center locations, throughout our service area.

“Our plans are designed to keep our members healthy so they can do what makes them happy in life. We do this through our convenient access to care and money-saving benefits,” said Cohen-Smith. “

Medicare Advantage plan enrollments during the AEP go into effect January 1, 2022. People can learn more and sign up for a free Medicare education seminar by calling 1-877-237-1303 or visiting

About Healthfirst
Healthfirst is the largest not-for-profit health insurer in New York State*, earning the trust of 1.7 million members by ensuring access to affordable and high-quality healthcare. Sponsored by downstate New York’s leading hospital systems, Healthfirst’s unique advantage is rooted in its mission to put members first by partnering closely with its broad network of providers on shared goals. Healthfirst is also a pioneer of the value-based care model, now recognized as a national best practice. For nearly 30 years, Healthfirst has worked with its network of hospital systems, community providers, and partners to improve health outcomes through better access to care—especially in underserved communities adversely impacted by disease, health disparities, and socioeconomic barriers to optimal health. Healthfirst has built its reputation in the community for top-quality products and services New Yorkers can depend on. It offers market-leading products to fit every life stage, including Medicaid plans, Medicare Advantage plans, Long-Term Care plans, Qualified Health plans, Essential Plans, and individual and small group plans. Healthfirst serves members in New York City and on Long Island, as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, and Orange counties. For more information on Healthfirst, please visit


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i Based on August 2021 CMS Medicare Advantage/Part D Contract and Enrollment data; excludes EGHP and ISNP. Healthfirst has the largest Medicare Advantage membership in the NY metropolitan area, including New York City, Nassau, Westchester, and the Lower Hudson Valley.

iiOTC allowance and items eligible for purchase may vary by plan and are subject to change.

iiiThe OTC Plus card is available with Healthfirst’s Life Improvement Plan and CompleteCare plan.

iv The number of provider locations is current as of August 20, 2021 and subject to change due to periodic changes in our network.


*Based on revenue reported for calendar year 2020