Medicare / Your Medicare Advisor

Are Those Ads on TV Too Good to Be True?

Medicare

AMAC investigates misleading Medicare commercials:

We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, but one can’t help but be curious when inundated with Medicare advertisements claiming to offer free dental care and money back in your wallet. These ads target Medicare beneficiaries and leave you wondering… are these plans too good to be true? AMAC is here to give you the facts and dispel any misinformation.

What’s in a name? The type of plan referenced in the majority of these ads is a Medicare Advantage Plan. But that is not always clear because the ads tend to use language like “Part C,” “All Inclusive,” “All-in-One,” and “Bundle Plan” to describe them. This makes it hard to decipher which type of plan is being presented. As a rule of thumb, if the plan includes benefits other than hospital and medical coverage, it may be an Advantage plan.

What about those additional benefits? It’s true, some of these plans offer additional benefits for things like dental, vision, acupuncture, over-the-counter items, and even massage therapy. What they don’t tell you is that these benefits are not offered with all Medicare Advantage Plans and the benefit levels vary from plan to plan. Additionally, some carriers may even charge an additional premium for these benefits.

Are the plans free like the ads suggest? A number of these plans do have exceptionally low premiums, or even $0 premiums, BUT you are still responsible for your Part B premium (and Part A, if you do not get it premium-free). You are required to remain enrolled in Part A and B to be eligible for a Medicare Advantage Plan. And while the premium may be low, keep in mind that you may have deductibles, copays and/or coinsurances as you use the plan.

Will I really get money back? It depends! Some of these plans offer a “Part B Give Back” or “Part B Buy Back,” which means that they reduce the Part B premium that comes out of your Social Security check, giving more money “back” to you. If you read the fine print, they say they can get you up to a certain amount of money back. This is because not everyone is eligible to receive the full amount, and some carriers only offer a small amount back. If you receive Medicaid or Extra Help, you may not be eligible to receive any money back at all.

So, what’s the catch? There is much that goes unsaid in these ads, like the basics of how a Medicare Advantage Plan works. Medicare Advantage Plans take the place of your Original Medicare (Part A and B) to administer hospital, medical and prescriptions benefits through a private insurance company (certain plans can be purchased without drug coverage). While you will still be enrolled in Original Medicare AND continue to pay your Part A and B premiums, you will no longer use this coverage while enrolled in an Advantage Plan. Therefore, the Advantage Plan will be your sole insurance for doctor visits, hospitalizations, or outpatient services, all of which may be subject to varying copays and/or coinsurances.

Another fact about Medicare Advantage Plans that if often overlooked is that these plans operate off a network like an HMO, PPO, or PFFS. If your doctor does not accept the plan’s terms, you may have to choose another doctor or pay the full cost of your visit when you see them (unless it is an emergency or urgent visit). Doctors, hospitals, and facilities can drop out of the network at any time.

Medicare Advantage Plan choices are based on your service area, which is your residential zip code and county. That is why these commercials encourage you to “Check your Zip Code.” But if you move out of your service area, you will have to find a new plan in your new area. Some areas do not offer Medicare Advantage Plans at all.

Keep in mind that once you enroll in an Advantage Plan, you may only leave the plan at certain times of the year, like during the Annual Enrollment Period (10/15-12/7) or if you have a special circumstance.

Ultimately, these commercials can be misleading for those who do not know much about Medicare Advantage Plans and how they work.

There are Medicare Advantage Plans that do offer the benefits they are advertising, but not all of them. Since Medicare does not require the plans to offer additional benefits, this can be confusing when a commercial is shouting at you to “Get all the benefits you’re entitled to!”

If you decide that you would like to try an Advantage Plan, be sure to do your homework first! AMAC’s licensed Medicare Advisors can help you with your research by finding out which plans your doctor accepts, making sure your drugs are covered, and keeping in mind the additional benefits that are important to you. With just one call you’ll get a comprehensive analysis and help finding an affordable plan that meets your needs – no Joe Namath required.

If you would like to review specific plan options, the licensed agents at AMAC are happy to assist you. We are licensed with top-rated insurers throughout the country.

Call 1-855-611-4856 to speak with one of us today or request a quote below!

(Please note that we do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.)

Get a Quote Here!


If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!


Subscribe
Notify of
11 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Charli
2 months ago

I think you are mistaken straight Medicare does not have to take you back if you decide the advantage plan is BS. They will ask you medical questions and if deemed a risk will deny you entrance back into straight Medicare with a secondary. Don’t fall for the crap with these commercials

Editor
Sabrinah Cave
2 months ago
Reply to  Charli

Hello Charli,

Thank you for voicing your concerns. You will be able to return to Original Medicare (Part A & B) if you decide that you no longer want your Medicare Advantage plan, but you can only disenroll from the Advantage plan during certain times of the year since they operate off an annual contract.

Original Medicare does not use medical underwriting- I think you are talking about a Medicare Supplement plan, which does use medical underwriting to determine eligibilty. If you have any other Medicare related questions feel free to give one of our experienced Medicare advisors a call at
1-855-611-4856.

J Rea
2 months ago

I love that politicians talk about ” Medicare for All” as if it is a good thing. Medicare is an expensive and confusing plan, not as good as what my employer provided in my working days. And Medicare is expensive. Look back at how much medicare tax you and your employer paid while you were working. And the extra Obama tax on investment income . And your premium that comes out of social security payments and what you pay for supplements. And the Irmaa surcharges. Only our Democrat politicians could devise a medical plan that provides mediocre coverage. Charge us a small fortune while we are working , charge us again while we are retired and impose extra tax penalties and act like they are doing us a favor. Tje Biden Harris Schumer Pelosi Team are out to bankrupt this country. FIRE SCHUMER AND FIRE PELOSI..Repeal the Obama Medicare Tax and Repeal the Irmas surcharges.

Dan W.
2 months ago

spam………….

David Millikan
2 months ago

You WASTE on average 8 HOURS a week watching Ads on TV. I did the math.
That’s an average of 40 HOURS a Month of your life lost and NEVER get back. Multiple it by 12 months and you have LOST
480 HOURS of your Life you could have been doing something else with your life instead of WASTING it watching TV Ads.
So glad I don’t watch TV. So much MORE to do than WASTE my time and life on TV Ads including movies and shows that are junk.
Especially, the GARBAGE they have put on since 1-21-21.
That’s why I don’t WASTE over a $165/mth to just watch TV.
That money went to BETTER use.

Jennie Pusateri
2 months ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Add to that the constant harassment of phone calls. It is so frustrating.

Robert Wilson
2 months ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Good advice.

Stephan
2 months ago

Can you explain the process of moving from a supplement plan, part G, to an advantage plan and moving from advantage to part G. Seems like it’s easy to go G to advantage but nearly impossible to go advantage to G.I chose the supplement plan when I first signed on to Medicare. It’s more expensive up front, but much easier, and possibly cheaper, when I travel.

Editor
Sabrinah Cave
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephan

Hello Stephan,

That is a great question. The most important thing you should know is that in order to enroll into or disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan, you must have a Special Election Period; this is an exceptional circumstance that allows you to make plan changes, i.e., a recent move, change in Medicaid eligibility, etc.
 
Now, if you enrolled into a Medicare Advantage plan when you were first eligible for Medicare, you will have a one-time Trial Right that you can use to drop the plan and pick up certain Medicare Supplement plans without going through Medical Underwriting. This Trial Right can be used during your first 12 months in the Medicare Advantage plan. If you have had the plan longer than 12 months, you may have to wait until the Annual Election Period to drop the Advantage plan and apply for a Medicare Supplement. Keep in mind the Annual Election Period does not guarantee that your Supplement policy will be granted; you will still have to go through Medical Underwriting.
 
If you have a Supplement plan and want to enroll into an Advantage plan, remember, you can only join an Advantage plan during certain times of the year. Unless you have a Special Election Period, you may have to wait to join the Advantage plan.
 
Supplement plans are not subject to the same rules as Advantage plans. You may apply for or disenroll from a Supplement plan at any time. Keep in mind that if you do not have a Trial Right, Guaranteed Issue Period, or are within your first 6 months of starting Part B (Open Enrollment) then you will be asked medical questions by the carrier to determine if they are willing to accept your application.

* Some states have special rules that may allow you to enroll into a Medicare Supplement without going through medical underwriting throughout the year.
 
If you have questions about your eligibility for a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement plan, be sure to contact one of our licensed AMAC Medicare Advisors at 1-855-611-4856!

Last edited 2 months ago by Sabrinah Cave
Mia Wallace
2 months ago

Thank you for clarifying! As JJ Walker would say, “AMAC is Dy-no-MITE!”

Editor
Sabrinah Cave
2 months ago
Reply to  Mia Wallace

Thank you Mia! We are great because of supporters like you.

11
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x