Beware the tricks of Medicare Advantage marketing
People eligible for Medicare are constantly being barraged by brokers selling Medicare Advantage plans. If you were to take all of their sales pitches without a degree of skepticism, you might think all of these plans offer everything under the sun. But if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. At Fair Square Medicare, we want to be totally transparent in recommending the best plan for you.
They might try to sell you on extra benefits you won't see in Original Medicare, like dental, vision, or hearing. You might even see flashier gimmicks like celebrity endorsers offering free groceries on a Flex Card and money back on your social security checks. In fact, these brokers want you to believe that you can receive all of these perks in one package just by switching to a Medicare Advantage plan, specifically the one that they are selling. Take all of the promises you see with a grain of salt.
The truth is these claims are dubious at best. You might see one of these perks in a given plan, but the stipulations often make it so the perk comes at the expense of core benefits that will actually save you money in the long run. In fact, complaints about marketing of Medicare Advantage plans have skyrocketed in recent years.
Let's take a quick look at some of the claims used to sell people on Medicare Advantage that are misleading:
Joe Namath is a fixture on cable TV ads claiming that switching to Medicare Advantage will lead to no co-pays or free meals delivered to your door. But these offers are not standard, and vary based on where you live and what plan you choose. The insurance firm he's representing has been the subject of various lawsuits.
You might have seen a viral Facebook post about Medicare Advantage offering Flex Cards, debit cards that claim to provide you with free groceries. However, fact-checkers debunked this claim. Research has shown only certain chronically ill beneficiaries can receive this perk on certain plans. The monetary limit is typically lower than what's being pushed on Facebook as well.
Our Medicare experts have seen promises of "get all of Part B premium ($170.10) back in your social security check" marketed nationwide. Out of all the Medicare Advantage plans our agents have seen over many years, only one in Florida has backed up that claim. The rest are exaggerated.
A client of one of our experts received a postcard offering "$0 crowns and $0 dentures" This sounds like a great deal, but once they actually did research on the plan, only $450 per year in dental coverage was included. According to GoodRx, the average prices of crowns and dentures are $1,100 and $1,000, respectively. That $450 coverage will not take you very far.
The ancillary benefits are added perks to consider when shopping for a plan. But they should not overshadow your core benefits. The key things you should keep in mind when choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan are:
The Network - HMO vs. PPO, how important is freedom of movement to you?
Deductible, Copay, and Coinsurance - what can you expect to spend on healthcare at your normal cadence?
Maximum Out-of-Pocket Cost - worst case scenario, how much can you afford to pay in a given year?
This isn't to say that all Medicare Advantage plans are inherently bad, they are just misunderstood. Our Medicare experts take a comprehensive look at all of your circumstances to make the best healthcare recommendation for you. If the best option for you is a Medicare Advantage plan, then we will make that recommendation.
The takeaway is to take the lavish perks being pitched to you with a grain of salt. Our experts have seen countless empty promises being peddled by bad actors.
Here's a real quote from a recent client: "Joe Namath and JJ Walker were not going to sell me anything. Your rep provided me with more info in 20 minutes than all the other solicitations combined."
At Fair Square Medicare, we are ready to do comprehensive research to find your best plan, and make sure that plan is still your best fit year after year. Give us a call at 1-888-376-2028 to talk with an expert.