Dealing with medical expenses is inevitable and something that will never be avoided, having one dedicated card for all expenses may leave beneficiaries feeling as though they have not spent an absurd amount. With the help of a flex card, Medicare Advantage providers issued a convenience perk that is used by insurance beneficiaries like a debit card that’s tied to their flexible spending account to pay for items and services covered by the enrollee’s health insurance plan. Flex cards allow a specific amount to be spent based on the insurance provider, but they promise a great deal, including significant savings for beneficiaries.
How Does a Flex Card for Seniors Work?
Qualified individuals aged 65 and older that are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan may have the option to acquire the Flex Card if offered by their private insurance carrier. It is important to note that some health care insurance providers may offer different spending limits that may vary based on location.
If Medicare Advantage Has a Flex Card Benefit, What Exactly Does it Include?
Flex Cards range in what individuals can use them for as well as when they are available. Most of the time, when available, they can help cover qualified medical expenses. This may include costs related to:
- Necessary medical equipment
- Dental, vision, and hearing needs
- Copayments and deductibles
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications
- Diagnostic devices and services not covered by your plan
- Medically necessary expenses not otherwise covered by your plan
Plans offer different types of coverage. Be sure you learn what to expect before agreeing to any type of Flex Card.
Does Original Medicare Offer Flex Cards?
The simple answer is no. Though it is often misunderstood and confusing, the Flex Card for seniors you may see is being advertised by a private insurance company that is a Medicare approved plan sponsor for the private insurance-administered Medicare Advantage plans.
If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, be sure to ask your insurer if they offer a Flex Card if interested. There should be no additional cost for the card if it is available.
Are Claims on TV Accurate?
Some of the most common claims made for Flex Cards may seem really enticing but can be misleading. A particular ad claim that thousands of dollars can be added to the debit Flex Card when in fact it’s more likely that the annual benefit loaded onto the card will be hundreds and not thousands of dollars. There may also be confusion as to what the cards can be used to pay for, which to be clear, can only be for qualified, approved health benefits related to the enrollee’s plan.
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If a Flex Card is Available, How Much Can You Expect to Receive?
For those who have a Flex Card benefit through their health insurance plan, may receive the following:
- The average pre-loaded value is $500. That is far different from the ads you may see. More so, the ads do not provide a lot of insight into what you can use these cards for.
- Some claim that you may be able to use the cards for groceries or personal expenses. Keep in mind this is not likely to be true either.
- The cards are often meant to provide support to you to cover medically necessary but otherwise uncovered costs.
If the Flex Card Is a Scam, Why Is It On TV?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of advertisements that do not provide accurate information. As frustrating as that is, it’s up to you, as the consumer, to know and expect the following:
- How to handle such claims.
- Never provide your personal information to any type of telemarketer who calls to offer these cards from me. When you see commercials like this, question them.
- One step you can take is to call your existing Medicare Advantage plan provider and ask them if they offer a Flex Card.
- You should not have to pay any money for these cards.
If you are interested in Flex Cards for seniors, remember that it’s best to call your insurance provider directly instead of answering any type of ad or solicitation. You can also verify any information you need at Medicare.gov or by calling your Medicare provider. That’s the best way to protect yourself from scams that could take more than just your money but your identity.