We have spoken in other articles about a flex card and how it works. With all of the hype surrounding them, you may consider seeing if you qualify for one.
However, before you jump on the bandwagon, it’s crucial to understand what flex cards are all about and how they work. In this article, we’ll look at who qualifies for Medicare flex cards, the benefits of flex cards, and whether it’s worth considering a switch from a Medicare supplemental plan to a Medicare Advantage plan.
Who Qualifies for a Flex Card?
Let’s start by discussing who can receive a Medicare Flex card.
To be eligible, you must first qualify for Original Medicare. Typically, you must be 65 years old or older and have been citizens or permanent residents of the United States for at least five years to be eligible for Medicare.
However, it’s important to note that Medicare doesn’t directly issue flex cards. Instead, you’ll need to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers the flex card as a benefit. You can sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period.
Who Does Not Qualify for a Flex Card?
Flex cards are only offered by Medicare Advantage Plans. This means you cannot get one if you currently have a Medicare Supplemental Plan (or Medigap) or receive Medicaid.
Does my Plan Offer Flex Cards?
Not all Medicare Advantage plans offer flex cards as one of their benefits. Relatively few do. The only way to know if your plan offers flex cards is to review your plan carefully or speak with your provider.
If your plan does offer flex cards, you should carefully review how much is included and how it can be spent, as each plan is different.
What are the perks of a flex card?
Now that we know who can qualify for a flex card, let’s look into the perks they offer. A flex card is a prepaid debit card loaded with a certain amount of funds. These funds can be used to pay for various healthcare services and items that Original Medicare does not cover. The specific expenses a flex card can cover may vary depending on the Medicare Advantage plan and its terms.
Some common expenses that flex cards may cover include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: Flex cards often allow you to purchase a wide range of OTC drugs, such as pain relievers, allergy medications, and first-aid supplies. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who frequently require these items.
- Health and wellness products: Flex cards may also be used to buy health and wellness products, including vitamins, dietary supplements, and personal care items. This provides individuals with the flexibility to manage their health and well-being.
- Medical supplies: Certain medical supplies, such as blood glucose test strips, bandages, and diabetic supplies, can be purchased using a flex card. This can help individuals with chronic conditions manage their healthcare needs more effectively.
Moving from a Supplemental Plan
You may be currently enrolled in a supplemental plan and thinking about moving to a Medicare Advantage plan to take advantage of some of the perks of having a flex card.
When considering a switch, you should evaluate the following factors:
Cost: Compare the premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance of your current Medicare Supplemental Plan with the expenses associated with a Medicare Advantage plan. Consider the specific flex card benefits and how they align with your healthcare needs. Consider your current medical expenses and determine if the savings from a flex card would offset any additional costs associated with the Medicare Advantage plan.
Network of Providers: Medicare Advantage plans typically have a network of healthcare providers. If you have established relationships with specific doctors or specialists, verify if they are in-network with the Medicare Advantage plan you are considering.
Additional Benefits: Besides the flex card, Medicare Advantage plans may offer other benefits to enhance your healthcare experience. Assess the value of these benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, and hearing services, and determine if they are important to you.
Flexibility: Consider how important flexibility is to you. Medicare Supplemental Plans generally allow you to see any healthcare provider who accepts Medicare patients without needing referrals. If having the freedom to choose your providers is important, a Medicare Supplemental Plan may be more suitable.
What happens when you want to return to a Medigap plan? You may need to go through medical underwriting. That means a representative from your insurance provider can review your medical history. If you have pre-existing conditions, your insurance company may deny coverage or charge you a higher premium.
Navigating your Medicare choices
In the vast landscape of Medicare plans and benefits, navigating your healthcare coverage can feel overwhelming. However, you don’t have to face this task alone. Working with the Medicare family can be a valuable resource to help you understand and determine your Medicare needs.
Remember, choosing the right Medicare coverage is not a one-size-fits-all process. Everyone’s healthcare needs are unique, and what works for one person may not be the best fit for another. Therefore, the guidance and support of the Medicare family can be invaluable in helping you navigate the complexities of Medicare and find the coverage that suits you best.
Our team has been helping seniors navigate their health insurance choices for over 40 years. Book a call today to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your Medicare benefits.