A medical care plan is crucial in ensuring you are covered for treatment when you need it most. When you have a good cover in place, you don’t have to worry about financing your treatment, especially considering that ill health can strike without warning. Medicare plans are carefully structured to cater to various medical needs. Everyone, including seniors, is covered in the plans eliminating most concerns of needing care without any money to spare. A Medicare Flex card is among the items that come with the plans.
The Medicare Flex card is a debit card designed for beneficiaries to use when purchasing medical equipment and other related items. The card is typically linked to a flexible spending account and comes as a benefit with qualifying health plans under Medicare. The cards are issued by private insurers and are available only to specific plans. They come with spending limits which can vary from carrier to carrier and from plan to plan.
How the flex card works
Not all Medicare plans come with the flex card, but if you have a Medicare Advantage plan with a flex card, you most likely had it mailed with important documents and information under the plan. The flex card looks like a debit card and can be linked to a spending account or come preloaded with a given amount for your expenses.
The insurance companies are the ones that issue the cards, and hence the spending rules, as well as the funding amounts, will depend on the company you choose as your carrier. Usually, the card will have several hundred dollars to spend on health care services. The members covered by the cards are limited, and the limitations can change from state to state, considering that Medicare plans differ from one state to the next.
Important to note is that the flex card is not included in the popular Medicare Supplement plans. This is because the Medigap beneficiaries save out-of-pocket costs and hence do not need the added benefit of the flex cards. The Medigap plans are also an extension of the Original Medicare Part A and Part B. The cards are available to Medicare Advantage plans, and you can compare so that you choose the plan you feel suits your needs.
How to use the flex card
Once you have received your card, you can use it on qualifying medical expenses only. The costs covered by the Medicare flex card are:
- OTC and prescription medications
- Purchase of medical equipment
- Diagnostic devices
- Deductibles and copayments
- Hearing, dental and vision care
The flex card may also cover other necessary medical expenses. To get the complete list, get in touch with your health insurance company to check your plan details and benefits.
Eligibility for Medicare Flex card
A Medicare flex card is designed to be used only for qualifying expenses, including durable medical equipment, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications, as well as the deductible and other services. Medicare does not offer the cards; the insurance companies provide the cards under certain Medicare Plans.
To be eligible, for that matter, you need to be a member of one of the participating plans. You can always use the Medicare enrollment period or initial enrollment, or annual enrollment.
The cards are additional benefits to the Medicare Advantage plans that most seniors are enrolled in, but not all the plans participate in the program. Only a few plans nationwide come with the flex card benefit, and to enjoy you would need to do a little research, so you know beforehand what plans offer the card, then settle on one.
Medicare Advantage plans do not require underwriting health questions to be answered. This means that denial chances are unlikely even for pre-existing conditions. You, however, must be willing to abide by the strict rules and high out-of-pocket costs under the pans to enjoy the benefits. Let your insurer guide you with the plans so you can enroll in one whose terms you can keep up with to secure your healthcare access in the future.
Medicare flex card pros and cons
The Medicare flex card has the primary advantage of having a pre-paid debit enabling you to make qualifying purchases according to the plan you are enrolled in. The supplemental benefits greatly reduce your costs which is what everyone is looking to do with healthcare services.
On the downside, the cards are not free money given to seniors because of their age. They are instead benefits designed to influence them to choose or switch specific Medicare Advantage plans. The Medicare supplement plans do not include the cards; it is only some Medicare Advantage Plans; you cannot enroll in both, so it has to be one or the other.
Protecting yourself as a senior interested in Medicare Flex card
Medicare Flex card for seniors is for those enrolled in the participating Medicare Advantage plans. Unfortunately, scammers are peddling false information about the card and catching many interested seniors unaware. Finding out all details appertaining to the flex card is important in keeping you safe from scams. With the increased Medicare fraud cases, you can do the following as measures to keep yourself safe:
Do not disclose personal information online. This is especially helpful with companies you are not familiar with. Giving out such information will have them take advantage of you by accessing your financial status to steal from you. In most cases, you will receive notifications and calls from individuals claiming there is a problem or an offer. Out of fear or excitement, you end up giving your personal information and putting yourself at risk.
Be cautious with the advice you take. Most advisors will have ill motives against you. Avoid people approaching you without your consent and making offers appear too good to ignore. If you are interested in whatever they are putting on the table, seek clarification from your insurance company, and in person, for that matter.
Work with a reliable Medicare counselor. Many states have health insurance advocacy programs to help people navigate complicated insurance terms and benefits. As a senior, take advantage of such so you know what is on offer and what the plans mean. It is also important to work with reputable insurance companies and double checking everything that relates to your plan.