Flex cards tied to insurance plans for seniors look attractive, but an 11Alive viewer wonders if they’re legit.
Yes, private insurance companies do sometimes offer flex cards though Medicare Advantage plans that are a legitimate way to help pay for your health care, but they might not necessarily be what’s right for you.
What we found
When you turn 65, you can enroll in what is sometimes called “original” Medicare which is run by the U.S. government.
You can opt for a Medicare Advantage plan that is run by private insurance companies, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tells us the senior flex cards are not a part of the government run plan.
Meanwhile, Meredith Freed tells us they are sometimes offered through Medicare Advantage plans.
Additionally, they typically come with about $500 that’s not for just anything.
“We’ve seen flex cards you can use toward out-of-pocket costs for dental, vision, and hearing benefits,” Freed explained. “Say you have a cavity filled and there’s some out-of-pocket costs. You can use the flex card to help cover the cost of those service.”
How much you get and how you can spend all depends on the private insurance company’s Medicare Advantage plan.
The majority of Medicare Advantage plans don’t have flex cards. When they do, the spending is typically limited to health related expenses, but plans can vary quite a bit and change year to year.
Freed says seniors need to choose a plan based on their particular needs.
A Medicare Advantage plan, even if it has a flex card, might not be your best choice.
“If there’s a doctor that you see with some regularity and the co-pay is $30, $40, $50 every time you see them, that could end up being a lot more than the savings that you might get from a flex card,” said Freed.