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Medicare Flex Cards for Seniors

One of the most requested plan benefits is the Medicare flex cards that are frequently discussed on TV commercials. They sound a bit too good to be true. Surely you can’t get a debit card loaded with free money just for signing up for a plan, right?

So are Flex Cards real or are they just another half-truth used for advertising Medicare Advantage plans? We cover all the details in this article.

What is a Flex Card?

First of all, a Medicare flex card doesn’t actually come from Medicare itself. They are extra benefit built into some Medicare Advantage plans. This is entirely separate from Medicare itself (run by the federal government). Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and they take over for Medicare by administering your benefits through their plans.

You can think of a Medicare flex card as being very similar to a standard debit-card. The different is that you can only use it for certain purposes which will be set out by the specific plan you sign up for.

What Can You Buy With a Flex Card?

Typically the funds can be spent on healthcare expenses like:

  • Deductibles
  • Copays
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental, vision, and hearing services

Make sure you check your plan’s Summary of Benefits confirm which expenses are eligible.

Are Flex Cards a Scam?

No, flex cards are not a scam. However, the way they are marketed can be deceptive. The trick played by the TV commercials is to highly promote a rare benefit that isn’t available to most people. The appeal of that rare benefit gets viewers to call into the number on the screen which leads directly to a sales team which can then enroll the viewer on a different plan. 

What's the Catch?

The “catch” is the Medicare Advantage plans only get so much money from the government with which they can build out their plan benefits. So when you see an advertisement for a “$2,500 flex card benefit!” that could be an indication that the money is being redistributed from the rest of the plan’s benefits. Think higher co-pays for seeing the doctor, higher monthly premium, etc.

Where to Get a Flex Cards?

Flex cards are only available as an Extra benefit built into Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan and/or a Part D Prescription drug plan, you are not eligible for flex card benefits because Supplement plans are not allowed to offer these kind of extra benefits.

So how do you know if your plan offers a flex card or not? The only way to tell is to check the Summary of Benefits for the plan. This is available on the insurance company’s website and on Medicare.gov. This will have all the nitty gritty details on if the flex card is available and how much it will be for.

Other 'Extra Benefits' Available to Seniors

Flex cards aren’t the only extra benefit offered by Medicare Advantage plans. We frequently see the following benefits offered:

  • Dental, vision, and hearing coverage – Receive coverage for routine services.
  • Transportation – Receive a certain amount of rides at no cost.
  • Over-the-counter benefits – Receive a certain amount of money each quarter to order items from their catalog. 
  • Gym Memberships – Receive a free gym membership that can be used at any participating location.
  • And many others depending on the plan.

How To Find The Best Benefits

The benefits on each Medicare Advantage plan are different. To find the best benefits, you’ll need to compare them side-by-side. That’s where we come in! Schedule an appointment with our team to find the best benefits in your area. Maybe you’ll even be able to get a flex card!

Sylvia Gordon, aka Medicare Mama®, is an expert on all things Medicare and Social Security. She is the 2nd Generation here at The Medicare Family and has served on the advisory boards of major insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare®, Cigna, and Anthem. In her free time, she can be found taking care of her animals (dogs, goats, peacocks, chickens), and reading a good book. Learn More.
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