Flex card for senior ads always begin appearing during Medicare open enrollment season. These ads will be in your newsfeed and even in front of our YouTube videos. Don’t let the marketing fool you, though. These flex cards are not exactly as advertised.
I was first alerted to these scams in 2021, when our YouTube audience started asking comments on our channel. That’s because many of these advertisers had started targeting our channel with their ads. They wanted to convince low income seniors who are already struggling to sign up for these cards.
However, what I found in the course of my research is that these cards can be far more harmful than helpful for low income seniors. Please review this information carefully so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe!
What is a flex card for senior citizens?
Typically, a flex card is a debit card that can be used to pay for eligible medical expenses like over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, appointment copays, deductibles and other expenses that your insurance may not usually cover. It’s tied to a flexible spending account, which is why they’re called flex cards. These cards and accounts are considered special features for certain insurance plans.
The flex card for seniors is specifically tied to certain Medicare Advantage plans. That’s why it’s marketed exclusively for seniors: you have to be eligible for Medicare in order to be eligible for it.
Many deceptive marketers will encourage you to “claim” your flex card, and they’ll say that you can use those funds for groceries, bills, or other expenses. They usually won’t mention that you have to sell your information or sacrifice the quality of your Medicare coverage in order to receive it.
How do you qualify for a flex card?
In order to qualify for a flex card, you have to sign up for a medical insurance plan that offers one.
Medicare, the government-run health care program, does not distribute flex cards to beneficiaries. The government has nothing to do with these cards whatsoever.
However, Medicare Advantage Plans are run by private companies and often offer more varied benefits than original Medicare. Companies will often invent new and interesting benefits to lure beneficiaries onto their plans. These flex cards are one such example.
Let’s debunk the lies in the ads.
Many of the advertisements for the flex cards for seniors are deceptive at best and downright lying at worst. It’s very frustrating to see so many innocent seniors preyed upon by these awful, unscrupulous companies.
Let’s break down the main lies in these ads so that you can know the truth.
Are these government cards?
Despite what these ads claim, you will not receive a flex card like this from the government. These cards are being offered by private insurance companies on the condition that you switch to their Medicare Advantage Plan. The cards are not being offered by the government.
Will you really receive $2,880?
It is exceptionally rare to get more than $500 on a flex card. Like most marketing ploys, the advertisers are focusing on the rare, exceptional cases in order to get more people to sign up for their services.
Can I buy groceries and gas with my senior flex card?
If you receive a flex card, you will only be able to use that card to purchase items that a licensed physician has deemed medically necessary. It is very unlikely that you will be able to get a prescription for clothing or gas.
What aren’t they telling you?
These companies are hoping to use these flex cards to bait you into switching your Medicare coverage to one of their plans. However, in most cases, these plans have higher out-of-pocket costs, lower coverage, and strict networks that make it almost impossible for you to afford your care.
Over time, you will likely lose much more than you gained from their flex card offer. It is a marketing trick, nothing more.
Watch out for new tricks in 2022!
When our coverage of the flex cards for seniors went viral in 2021, it was definitely noticed by the industry. As we approach open enrollment season for Medicare, we’ve noticed that many companies that were offering flex cards for seniors are now offering similar products with different names.
Watch out for the Medicare Black Card.
The Medicare Black Card is part of a Medicare Advantage Plan. It is similar to the flex cards for seniors that were offered in 2021. For example, the Black Card includes a monthly allowance for over-the-counter medicine, denture products and other services. They also offer telehealth appointments and other services. Again, this is all in exchange for you signing up for the Medicare Advantage Plan known as the All Alignment Health Plan.
Keep yourself safe from Medicare scams!
All seniors need to review these tips to stay safe from Medicare scams, especially during the predatory open enrollment season between October and December.
Wednesday 22nd of February 2023
2022 we each got $50 for food and $500 each for medical each. Two cards. In November 2022 we tried to use the flex medical card for everything we bought, it worked for anything. 2023 we got one card for both food and medical. $125 food and $500 medical. We bought a medical item and it came off the $125. But food won’t come off the $500. Complicated! Sometimes we bought candy and chips and it worked. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Saturday 14th of January 2023
My Disabled Fiance Gets $50 A Month Towards Utilities, $125 A Month Towards Healthy Food And Over The Counter Items. It's A Use It Or Lose It Every Month So It Must Be Spent. Last Year She Had $500 Towards Dental, Hearing Or Eye And She Bought Several Pairs Of Prescription Eyeware From Zenni Optical Online Way Cheaper Than Any Eye Doctor Would Sell Her. This Year She Elected To Get The $50 Utilities Because She Has New Eyeware And Her Teeth Are All Fixed Now. ($600)
Tuesday 3rd of January 2023
ive had my medicare plan now for a couple of years. I was receiving $50 on the 1st of every month from my medicare plan. They automaticly signed me up for flex card and I got a lump some of $750 for the year for extra things like toilet paper , pet care, and alot of other things. I dont know why you are saying its a scam. I love my plan. I have advantage plus plan and no deductable because i have duel medicare and medicaid. It is not a scam.
Wednesday 7th of December 2022
*way to many different outfits with meaningless names offering different “flex cards “ ,$2682, $170, $3474.42., for it to be a legit government program.
*Brings up the TGTBT test.
*Never call any number you see advertised.
* Anytime an ad says “free”, they are lying.
Thank you for the clarification
Monday 21st of November 2022
At age 85, after loss of spouse to cancer & financial situation during that time, now living on social security, it is disgusting - all the false advertisement, misleading us. Why can’t this be stopped???