The Medicare “Flex Card ”
In today’s world, it’s tricky to know what’s really true. With so much information flying around, from flashy headlines to rumors online, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. We’ve got to be extra careful about what we believe. It’s like we need to put on our detective hats and investigate before we trust something. In a world where everyone’s shouting to be heard, being cautious about what we believe is super important. The Medicare “Flex Card” is no different.
If you are 64 or older, odds are you’ve several Medicare advertisements the past month . The constant mail and commercials never seem to stop. In recent years we’ve even seen stars like Namath & JJ Walker preaching about benefits. The new deceiving tactic that seniors are being lured into is an advertisements that claims they “may be eligible” for thousands of dollars a year on a “flex card”, just for being senior. While there are small truths to these advertisements, only a small percentage of people qualify for anything close to $3,000.
Who qualifies for a Medicare Flex Card?
To get a flex card, you have to enroll into a “Medicare Advantage Plan”, otherwise known as Part C of Medicare. These are alternatives to traditional Medicare and are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans combine the coverage of Medicare Parts A and B into a single plan. They often have additional benefits like prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing care. Medicare Part C plans operate under the same rules as original Medicare but may have different costs and coverage rules. They may also offer extra benefits not covered by original Medicare, such as wellness programs or telehealth services.
While Medicare Advantage plans typically have networks of healthcare providers, some may offer out-of-network coverage with higher costs. Overall, Medicare Part C plans aim to provide beneficiaries with more choices, flexibility, and additional benefits compared to traditional Medicare.
One of the extra benefits that has been added is the “flex card” . This card is intended for people with a chronic illness. Many beneficiaries do qualify for this card with qualifying conditions such as high blood pressure ( hypertension) , cholesterol, COPD, and dozens of other conditions. Part C plans will offer anywhere from $25 to $250 a month on a pre paid Mastercard or Visa. The cardholder can pay for things like healthy groceries, utilities, pet food , gasoline at the pump and many other things.
What is deceiving about the Flex Card advertisements?
Although some people do qualify for up to almost $300 a month on a flex card, that is a very small portion of the Medicare population. Generally, the plans that offer even $100 or more monthly on the cards are for “dual eligible” Medicare beneficiaries. This group can enroll into “D-SNP” *(Dual eligible special needs plans) . According to the Kaiser Family Foundation , 19% of people were in this category in 2023, less than 1 in 5 people.
A Special Needs Plan (SNP) is like a special type of Medicare Advantage plan. It’s made for certain groups of people with different health needs. For instance, there are SNPs for folks who have both Medicare and Medicaid (D-SNPs), people with serious long-term health issues (C-SNPs), and those who need nursing home care (I-SNPs). SNPs give personalized services and benefits to help these groups with their specific healthcare needs.
What is true about these advertisements?
- If you qualify for a D-SNP plan, you can absolutely get $200 to $300 per month on a pre paid debit card . You can use that card at various locations, and for a lot of different cool things .
- A lot of regular Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) do include that benefit , and anyone with Part A and B can have these plans, however, the monthly amount on the card is more likely to be $25 t0 $75 per month , not $3000 per year.
In wrapping up, the idea of a Medicare Flex Card might sound appealing, but understanding all the details can be tough. Most people can get a plan with a monthly allowance between $25 and $75 per month. A small group of people can get anywhere from $200 to $300 per month. With all the different companies out there and plans available, always work with a great Medicare broker, that can make things easier for you. The best part of working with a Medicare insurance broker, you never pay a fee for their service. Free advice from an expert.