What is the Flex Card? Should I Get One?

What is the Flex Card?
Grafikingenieur/Pixabay

You have probably seen ads for the flex card.  And have wondered if it is legitimate.  The answer is, not really.  

The claim is the government did something right!  That should be the first red flag.  When was the last time the government did something right?

And that it is free.  Come on, nothing is free.  

And that you can get up to $2,800 from the government.  No, you can’t.

Want to know more?  Read further to find out the facts.

Who Can Get a Flex Card ?

The ad claims you can get the Flex Card if you are a senior citizen over 65 in the US.  And you can get it for free, and get up to $2,800.  

And then you can use that money any way you want. But that simply isn’t true.  

Here are the facts.

The Flex Card Is Linked to a Medicare Advantage Plan

The name flex card harkens to what some of us know as a flexible spending account that reimburses for medical expenses.

This card, though, has to be linked with a Medicare Advantage Plan that does actually cost money.  

What is the Flex Card?
DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay

As a senior who has qualified for Medicare, you must choose a Medical Insurance Plan.  Once you choose, your Social Security benefits kick in to cover your premium.  These premiums vary from company to company.  

The insurance companies also have what they call Advantage Plans.  Be aware; 

YOUR ADVANTAGE PLAN MUST BE PAID OUT OF YOUR POCKET!

It is not covered by Medicare.  Your social security is linked to your Medicare.  But not the Advantage Plans.

And each and every plan wants to have you sign up for their Advantage Plan.  

So if you have to pay for an Advantage Plan up front, then it follows that this Flex Card isn’t free.  

A Few Words About Advantage Plans

You don’t have to get an advantage plan. But you will be encouraged to do so.  Why?  Well, the insurance companies claim that you will have access to other benefits not covered by your Medicare.  

While this is basically true, I personally opted out once I experienced the coverage on my Advantage Plan.  

Before I tell you about it, I suggest you do your homework.  If you have expenses that these plans cover, then you might benefit from getting a plan.  Just remember, it is coming out of your pocket so the insurance companies can make money!

My Experience With An Advantage Plan

I’m going to vent here, so if you aren’t interested, skip to the next section.  I am not going to use the name of the company.  But I’m pretty sure they are all very similar.

I signed up for the plan because I wanted dental insurance coverage.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t use my own dentist, whom I love and who is very professional.  She didn’t take Medicare Insurance.  So I went to the office covered by the plan.

The office was slightly run down.  First red flag!  Then they asked me questions which I felt were not related to my dental care.  And finally the dentist did a brief exam and then told me I would need up to $2,000 worth of work done. 

What is a Flex Card?
drshohmelian/Pixabay

Now I had heard nothing of these problems from my other dentist!  What the heck?  So I thanked them and left, vowing to never return.  And I never did.  I truly believe this was an instance of bait and switch.  

As an aside, be careful about dental offices.  Some will tell you that you need work that you don’t really need.  Find a reputable dentist.  They usually have their own practices and are not part of a group.

The plan also covered vision expenses.  But I found out my plan already covered some vision expenses, so what did I need this for?

After calculating that I would be out a certain amount of money by year end due to the extra premiums, I decided an Advantage plan was not for me.  However, let me tell you it wasn’t easy to un-enroll.  I made several phone calls, got the run around and had to get rather nasty to have them cancel my coverage.

Bottom line, do your homework before you sign up for an advantage plan.  Do your calculations.

So Beware!

This flex card isn’t what it claims to be.  The insurance companies want to make money off of you.  

I wish that the government website for Medicare (www.medicare.gov) had an article about this card.  As of this writing, I don’t see anything.  To their credit, they do have a link to protect yourself against fraud under the Learn category.  Which I highly recommend you read.  

I suggest you check out various ads for this card.  Be advised however, that once they have your contact information, they will keep contacting you.  They want to make a sale!  

And even if the ad is legitimate, be aware that there are lots of scams out there.  If you are unsure of a website, don’t give them any information.  We seniors are one of the most targeted demographic for scams.

I have written a few articles about scams. Check out this link to see one of them.

Bottom Line

The Flex card isn’t what it’s advertised to be.  It is not free, you probably can’t recover $2,800.00, or anything near that.  

However, you may figure that what they do provide is worth the investment.  Just DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Let’s Help Each Other

I welcome your comments. If you have questions, post them here. If you have further helpful information, post that here too. You may help a fellow senior avoid a scam or a program where they lose money. Let’s take care of each other.

38 thoughts on “What is the Flex Card? Should I Get One?”

  1. Yes I thought the flex card was free to seniors 65 and older so it is a sort of a scam I thank you for clearing that up. Now I now it is not true

    Reply
      • So I was gettin’ ready to watch a video on YouTube (I wanna go back to b&w tv with just two channels) and I saw this ad for “Flex Card”. So what’s this? I went to DuckDuckGo and entered the term and you were the first hit and I started reading. I got to your second sentence: “The claim is the government did something right! That should be the first red flag. When was the last time the government did something right?”
        And I am just here to say…Bravo! And now I have to stop writing ’cause I can’t type when laughing maniacally but you did make my day. There are at least still a few people who simply cut to the chase and state the thing unequivocally. Again: Bravo!

        Reply
        • Randy; thanks for making my day. I’m glad you found my dry humor entertaining. Once in awhile in my posts, I do like to say what I am “really” thinking. Also, good to know that people are reading this post, because I think the Flex card is a ripoff.
          Barbara

          Reply
        • Lillian C.
          04/12/22
          I saw the advertisement for seniors to get the flex card. I contacted them on a 1800 561 #. I spoke to 2 ladies, they asked me if I had Medicare and I answered Yes. Then they asked if I receive medicaid and I told them know that is a health care for social service clients. Then the lady said she would transfer to their specialists for zip code 21216 MD. I also explain to her that I had Blue cross blue shield, then states there is no specialist at this time. I called back and went through the same problem. J asked why was there no specialists fir my zip code. She stated she did not know why. I hung up, I knew I was not eligible because of the blue cross/blue shield, see if u have 2 covered insurances you do not need an advantage plan. They can’t help you. This truly is a scam.

          Reply
          • Dear Lillian: Thank you for your input. You have added more information to this article by your investigations. So we now can state that if you have two insurances, you don’t need an advantage plan. Barbara

  2. Barbara, Thank you so much for this article! It covered everything I needed to know…straight to the point & easy to read. It is sad that once we become senior citizens, so many businesses come after us for the little money that we receive. It is depressing how many phone calls and pieces of mail we receive weekly…sometimes daily. It’s really overwhelming being seniors and having to navigate scams while trying to be healthy and protect ourselves from so much, including physical crimes. Again thank you!

    Reply
    • Rose, Thank you for your comment. I am so pleased that my article helped you. You are very correct, so many companies just want your money. And we seniors have to be so careful to not be taken advantage of. Be careful out there, and continue researching everything! Barbara

      Reply
      • I’m only 58 but my fiancé is 69 he wanted me to help him get a flex card I told him that he would have to change advantage plans and we have got the best one going and we’re able to get healthy groceries and otc products 175$ a month each I wonder how much they are paying these people to get on tv and lie their asses off promoting this crap I hope that I’m not the only person that is curious

        Reply
        • Thanks for your comment Lisa. I am glad you are being careful about investigating your health plans. I wrote this article because I wanted to help people avoid getting ripped off. When something sounds to good to be true it usually isn’t! Barbara

          Reply
  3. Thank you so much for this information. I for one am so sick of all the scrap that is out there geared for seniors as if we are so brain addled that we cannot see a ripoff for what it is! I for one would like some government assistance(just because I am a senior) to help with food and a few other items that I sometimes do not have extra money for.. That would be a PLUS for appreciation for us older folk!!

    Reply
  4. Hi Barbara,
    Not long ago my husband received an aetna payflex card. After I read your article, I looked at the back of the card and it said this: Aetna and its agents are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the Federal Medicare program.
    Then it stated that we should log into AetnaMedicare.com if there are any questions.
    What the heck!?! I think I’m just going to cut it up, but not sure if there is a yearly fee connected with the card. Any insight? BTW ~ THANK YOU!!!
    Kim

    Reply
    • I suspect that they want you to contact them and they will try to sell you an advantage program. At least they tell you up front that they are not a Medicare program. Aetna shouldn’t be able to charge you anything without your consent. I bet it is a form of advertising that they hope to hook you in once you call them. I would dispose of the card, and yes, cut it up. Is your husband on Medicare already? If not, be sure to use their official site to sign up. Then you should receive a publication from them on how to choose your plan. Thanks for your comment! Barbara

      Reply
  5. Thank you thank you thank you.
    Great information and yes I always do my homework. I also let my family know and friends be aware.

    Reply
  6. I am glad I did not get the card
    I knew it was not what it appeared to be. I do not trust anything regarding “Medicare free” related. It’s bad enough we have to pay for an Alzheimer drug I don’t need, yet Medicare recipients on Eliquis don’t get help paying for it. It’s all pretty much a big scam.

    Reply
  7. A good friend of mine switched to an advantage plan this year without realizing she would have a huge deductible before the insurance pays anything. She found out about it after the first and so far only doctor visit this year. Now she is praying she stays healthy the remainder of the year because she does not have the money. Since she is already on an advantage plan for the rest of the year would she get ANY benefit from a Flex card?

    Reply
    • Well, the Flex card is an insurance plan. So yes. But as I stated, she has to pay for it, and may not see the benefits. If she is interested, she should shop around and found out all the out of pocket expenses. Does the Flex card cover expenses she would need? I was very disappointed with my plan and dropped it when I realized it wouldn’t really help me. Hope this answer is helpful. Barbara

      Reply
  8. Thanks for this article. I saw the ad on TV, over the Internet. My mother is in her late 90s so I am the one to look into things like this. There is no way she could understand and much less do research and calculations.
    The HMO tied to her Medicare has been issuing a MasterCard that also acts as her insurance card. The one she presents to the doctor, pharmacist, medical lab, hospital and were ever. It gives her $150.00 every three months, $ 450.00 a year and $ 50.00 every month, 600 a year.
    It that the same thing as a Flex card?
    I know the money is taken out of her social security check.
    I do not know if she can opt out of that and get more in her SS monthly check.
    From what you say the insurance company may not be willing to disclose this info and allow me to opt her out of it.
    The pitch in their ads are…
    You can pay for:
    Groceries,
    Utilities, water, electric, phone, cable TV…
    What they do not say is that you many not be able to cover one of these much less all of them from the amount you get.
    That to me is a scam.
    Thanks again.
    PS
    NoEmail@Address.net is not my real address.

    Reply
    • First of all, bless you for helping your Mom out. I know it can be a challenge as I was a caregiver for my Mom, although I had help. I am actually not sure if that is an advantage plan that you are talking about. If you have access to her insurance information, I would check to see what she is paying. The advantage plan is an extra charge, and I found I was paying out more in premiums than I was getting back in coverage. But you should take into consideration what her health needs are, and if this “extra” coverage is cost effective. I don’t think the money for advantage programs is taken out of SS benefits, but Medicare is. So again, check her paperwork. And contact Social Security to find out what her account says. You can set up an online account that might be helpful. In the meantime, yes, I think the Flex card is a scam. They take more than they give. Best to you! Barbara

      Reply
  9. Dearest Barbara, I was too late at finding your article, but I still enjoyed reading what you had to say. I saw the advertisement too and called the number. I was connected to a health insurance broker. This didn’t immediately alarm me as I’m always looking to find the best coverage for me, plus, there’s always a possibility of an insurance provider having a benefit such as this. (I know, I know; wishful thinking) I would like to share my experience. I’m still not certain if I helped myself or hurt myself. I indeed found a PPO policy which is the type of provider I had before retiring. Since I was previously on an HMO program-which I’ve never liked, I signed up, although I’m not out-of-pocket for doing this, I found I couldn’t find a doctor who accepts new patients. I’m assuming because it’s out of the open enrollment period. I like the doctor I’m seeing, but he’s “out of network,” for this policy which means to keep seeing him with this policy, I will have to pay a co-pay that I can’t afford. Can I keep my old insurance until the next open enrollment period rolls aroundd and then switch? Signed, one duped sucker!

    Reply
    • Dear Ron: First, thanks for your sweet support in reading my article. I am sorry it didn’t help you though. I am not an insurance specialist, and find I have my own challenges. I don’t like HMO either, but they usually are the cheapest. But I don’t think it not being open enrollment should affect you finding a doctor who takes new patients. Have you called this new insurance and told them about your issues? Are you saying you have two health insurance plans now? I would call your old insurance and talk to a person who is versed in these issues. I don’t want to give you the wrong advice. But if you haven’t cancelled your old policy, you should still be able to use it. In fact, most health companies want to know all your insurance plans because they can bill them all. I wish you the best. Keep us posted about what you find out. Because I think you can help other people. We seniors have to stay informed. There are so many scams out there. Thanks, Barbara

      Reply
  10. I have to do an advantage plan as I am 76 years old and any other plan costs about $200 a month and who on SS (I do have a pension also) can afford $2,400 a year for a medical plan. No one that I know. So when you get old they price you right out of any type of plan G and force you into an advantage plan. No other option.

    Reply
    • Hello Robert: I am sad to hear that you have no other options. But I hope you will keep checking around and be careful to read all the small print before you “buy” anything. These companies don’t care about you; only your money. Barbara

      Reply
  11. Hi, I have Humana insurance I would like to know how to go back to Medicare if you could give me some info sure would appreciate it very much thank you for your time.

    Reply
  12. A year ago I was brain washed to go with a advantage plan let me tell you I found out te hard way it was when I needed a bypass surgery after the surgery I found out that the advantage plan refused to pay telling me and my dr it was not medically necessary and I was I the hook for 275.000
    Took me 5 months on the phone 6 hours a day to get off the advantage plan now I back to old Medicare with a supplement and I now fully covered today I get so mad all day on tv or my phone I keep hearing I have to go back as every ones doing it I yell back not me I never go back the government should shut this scam down

    Reply
    • Norm! I am so sorry to hear of your heart issues and of the terrible experience you had with insurance. But thank you for your input. Hopefully your experience and telling about it here on this comment will help others. Take care of yourself! Barbara

      Reply
  13. I checked into the advantage plans. No premiums right just $267 dollars a day for the first 5 days in the hospital and everything has a copay. I’ll settle for my $320 a month premium and not pay a dime extra.

    Reply
  14. I just got a call telling me I could get a flex card. I asked her how much and she said free. Told her I had great insurance already. She said this would give me money. I asked where she was calling from. She said TX. Told her no thank you, I’ll stick with what I have. As she continued to talk, I hung up.
    I get these calls all the time. A lot from Medicare. I just tell them Medicare doesn’t call you and I hang up.
    Please everyone out there beware.

    Reply
    • I’m glad you hung up. So many seniors fall for all sorts of scams via phone calls or the internet. You were smart to ask questions. Spread the word to your friends to be very careful! Thanks for commenting. Barbara

      Reply
  15. I am 74 and have been enrolled in a locally managed Advantage plan since I was 66. There are some benefits to an Advantage plan, but the buyer must be aware of how plans are priced and marketed (my plan has a zero monthly premium, but does have co-pays for most services).

    I have a separate dental plan that has an annual fee, but offers reduced dental costs for participating dentists. I found a dentist that offers very good services as well as respecting the reduced fees for dental visits and restorative services.

    Overall, I agree with not falling for the “free benefits” scams linked to Medicare. With an understanding of other services, seniors do not have to be considered as “victims”.

    Reply
    • Right you are! Thanks for your thoughtful comments. You bring up a good point too. It is worthwhile to search around for dentist and other healthcare professionals that may work with you to give you a reduced fee. Barbara

      Reply

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