Medicare Flex cards feature misleading ads

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Since the pandemic began, the government has given people thousands of dollars to help them through these tough times so it seems reasonable that there would be another giveaway for those who are on Medicare with a special card. 

However, despite ads you may see implying that, it’s not the case. The government is not giving money to Medicare patients. 

An ad saying there was $2,880 available in a Medicare Flex Card looked like a windfall to Laurence Archer. 

He believed the government was putting money into a flex card handing it out free to citizens. 

“That was my understanding,” he said. 

The ads are everywhere. Most of them claim there is $2,880 available. Those ads are confusing to many. 

“It was stated it was set up by the government with Medicare for senior citizens,” said Archer. 

In fact, they aren’t set up by the government. 

The flex cards are actually connected to specific health insurance plans. 

The flex cards are a marketing tool used by companies to try and get you to change your Medicare Advantage plan to another company. 

The cards aren’t free. You often must pay an additional premium to the Medicare Advantage plan offering the card to get it. 

If you were to change plans and get a flex card you can’t spend it any way you want. 

Only certain out-of-pocket expenses can be paid for with a flex card according to healthcare.gov.

That includes: 

  • Medical equipment 
  • Diagnostic devices 
  • Prescriptions 
  • Over-the counter meds 
  • Certain co-pays 

Also, the amount of money available on the flex card depends on the type of Medicare advantage plan you select.  

You also must meet eligibility requirements with your Medicare advantage plan to qualify for a flex card. 

In effect, you are paying for the flex card with your higher premiums, it’s not free money from the government. 

For Archer, if it’s one of those deals where the government is not putting money into the account, he will avoid a plan that offers that kind of flex card. 

“I wouldn’t want it, no,” he said. 

Medicare coverage is a complex issue so before you make any changes to your Healthcare plan, talk with an unbiased health counselor. 

You can even talk to someone at Medicare by phone by calling 800-633-4227 or by chat with a real person at medicare.gov

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