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Medicare Flex Card for Seniors

Summary: Medicare Flex Cards are offered by a select few Medicare Advantage plans to help cover costs of medically necessary items purchased from your everyday convenience store. Estimated Read Time: 6 min

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Medicare advertisements are constantly flooding our screens. However, many of these ads can be confusing or misleading. So, we are here to clear the air about one product – the flex card for seniors on Medicare. So, what is the truth about the flex card for seniors? Find out here!

Recently, Medicare has put its foot down when it comes to false advertising claims and is cracking down on companies that deliberately mislead consumers. These changes come with hopes that Medicare enrollees can have a clear idea of the plans they enroll in without any false hopes and promises.

What is a Flex Card?

Currently in circulation are advertisements for Medicare-supplied flex cards from various carriers, often coined senior flex cards. These ads usually include a multitude of misleading or false claims.

Truthfully, Medicare as a federal program is not distributing a flex card for seniors. Thus, these cards are not part of the government-run program.

Private Medicare Advantage plans distribute the cards in these ads – not Original Medicare. So, many legitimate insurance companies offer this benefit. However, they all require beneficiaries to pick up their Medicare Advantage plans.

Flex cards are debit cards that beneficiaries can use to purchase medical equipment and necessary items. Typically linked to a flexible spending account, these cards are a benefit linked to qualifying health plans throughout the nation.

These cards, issued by private insurance companies, are only available on specific plans. Also, the cards have spending limits that vary by plan and carrier. The flex card benefit is not a common feature of Medicare Advantage plans, but you can find it in a handful of plans nationwide.

One misconception about flex card benefits is that you can use this debit-style card to cover your everyday expenses like groceries, electricity, rent, and more. However, this is not entirely the truth.

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With a flex card, you may be eligible to purchase specific healthy foods and produce. However, these items must be cleared through your plan administrator. You may also use the flex card to purchase over-the-counter items like medications and medical supplies.

Medicare Flex Cards expectations versus reality.

What Does a Flex Card Cover?

A Flex benefits card is used to cover qualifying medical expenses only. These include:

Flex Card for Seniors Advertisement Claims

The advertisements include claims that lead beneficiaries to believe they can receive a flex card with up to $2,880 from Medicare to spend as they choose. However, this is entirely not true.

While some carriers offer a flex card benefit, it is rare to receive such a large amount. The average flex card in 2022 is pre-loaded with $500.

Further, the ads tend to be unclear about which items are eligible for purchase with flex cards. According to one commercial, you can use the card for gas, groceries, new clothing, and shoes. While this could be true under rare circumstances, a licensed physician must deem these items medically necessary.

Is There a Medicare Grocery Allowance?

Original Medicare does not offer a grocery allowance for enrollees. Yet, you may be able to receive some assistance when enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan such as a Special Needs Plan. However, not all Medicare Advantage plans offer these benefits, and your allowance will vary.

The Medicare Advantage grocery allowance falls under the category of Special Supplemental Benefit for the Chronically Ill, also known as SSBCI. This means the benefit is only available to Medicare Advantage enrollees with certain chronic conditions. So, your flex card may cover some of these expenses if you fall into this category.

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In addition to the flex card grocery allowance, there are also meal benefits for Medicare Advantage enrollees who meet broader criteria. However, these meal benefits usually only last four weeks or less, depending on your situation.

Medicare Flex Card Eligibility

Flex cards are an additional benefit to Medicare Advantage plans. So, to qualify, you must have a participating policy.

Not all Medicare Advantage plans participate in this program. In reality, a very small percentage of plans available nationwide offer this benefit. So, you must live in an area where at least one of these plans is available and sign up during a qualifying Medicare enrollment period.

Fortunately, Medicare Advantage plans do not require beneficiaries to answer Medicare Supplement underwriting eligibility questions to enroll, so you will not face denial due to a pre-existing condition. However, to participate in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must be willing to abide by strict networks and higher out-of-pocket costs. So, you will need to make sure your new plan’s network covers your physicians.

Flex cards are not available in every state or with every carrier. It is best to contact your insurer directly to inquire if your plan offers this benefit. You can also review your plan’s benefits on Medicare.gov.

Are Flex Cards Available with Medicare Supplement Plans?

Medicare Supplement plans do not include flex card benefits. Medigap plans are a direct extension of Original Medicare, available through private insurance companies. Medicare Supplement plans help beneficiaries reduce out-of-pocket spending by covering the holes in Original Medicare.

Flex cards for seniors over 65 are not a necessary benefit of a Medicare Supplement plan because Medigap beneficiaries typically save on out-of-pocket costs compared to Medicare Advantage plans.

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Often, Medicare Advantage plans have high maximum out-of-pocket costs. Companies offer additional benefits to make the policies more attractive to consumers by balancing these high costs. On the other hand, Medicare Supplement plans allow beneficiaries to save money while receiving the benefits they need to reduce Original Medicare costs.

Flex cards are only available with Medicare Advantage plans. Even with the flex card benefit, many Medicare Advantage plans still produce higher out-of-pocket costs than Medicare Supplement Plan G. In fact, a recent study by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance shows that a higher number of people are enrolling in Medicare Supplement Plan G to help save money on out-of-pocket costs.

How to Know if a Medicare Flex Card is Right for You

Understanding the full benefits of your insurance plan is essential in receiving the most out of your coverage. Plus, spending more than necessary for healthcare is frustrating. Beneficiaries often save more money in total health spending with a Medicare Supplement plan than with a Medicare Advantage plan. Additionally, they find cost-saving benefits such as a flex card never truly live up to their promises.

Medicare Supplement plans make healthcare affordable and easy for all enrollees. If you are looking to reduce your healthcare spending, enrolling in a Medicare Supplement plan could be a step in the right direction. Our agents are ready to help you review your options and find the most cost-effective plan for your needs.

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare guru serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

74 thoughts on "Medicare Flex Card for Seniors"

    1. A flex card is only available with certain Medicare Advantage plans and is not available in all areas. If you wish to enroll in a plan with a Flex card, you’ll need to review all Medicare Advantage plans in your area to determine if a plan that offers a flex card is available to you and meets your coverage needs.

    1. Irene, your eligibility for Medicaid does not hinder your Flex Card eligibility. However, to be eligible for a Flex Card, you must enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers the card as a benefit. It is not something you will apply for or qualify for separately, it must be a benefit of your chosen plan.

  1. Thank you so much. ..
    I learned a lot from you..And was very suspicious about this. Today one ad came and Said they will give 3 thousand something dollars they give for good gas and so many things.. And its the last day. İ Google it and found out I have a better one.. Thanks to you. God Bless you??? Asti

    1. Eloise, a flex card is given by certain Medicare Advantage plans. However, you have to be sure that the plan is available in your area.

  2. Thank you so much Jagger Esch for explaining the Flex Card and giving information about the different types of insurance plans. This is very helpful to me. Bless you!

  3. I just sign for Medicare Advantage plan. I didn’t know there is Medicare Supplement plan. And better savings than. Medicare Advantage plan. All of this are new to me. My question is can I cancel my Medicare Advantage plan to Medicare Supplement plan? Is the Medicare Supplement plan are better Medicare Advantage plan?

    1. Hi Adelaida, depending on your enrollment period, you may be eligible to drop your Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. However, you may need to wait until the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period in January. Complete this form to speak with an agent about your options.

  4. To be clear – the $185 a month premium example you used for the Medigap G plan is in addition to the $168 Medicare premium that’s already being automatically withdrawn each month from a person’s Social Security.

    1. Yes! This is correct. Your Medicare Part B premium is withdrawn from your Social Security check each month in addition to any additional coverage (like Medicare Supplements) you purchase.

  5. Thanks so much for the information and insight into this BS Flex card. The only reason I was going to apply for this is because of the promise of food. Glad I found your site. Thanks Mr. Esch, you’re a true friend to seniors.

  6. Thanks so much for the information and insight into this BS Flex card. The only reason I was going to apply for this is because of the promise of food. Glad I found your site. Thanks Mr. Esch, you’re a true friend to seniors. G Ford

    1. The only way to receive the flex card benefit is by enrolling in a plan that offers the benefit. Unfortunately, if your plan does not provide a flex card, you are unable to receive the card.

  7. I have a senior advantage plus Kaiser hmo plan, Was involved in a car accident and damaged my teeth. Is this a good plan.

    1. You will need to contact your plan’s carrier to review the dental benefits available to you. Then, you’ll need to find a dental provider who accepts your plan.

  8. Thank you for the update on flex cards. I appreciate that it takes a lot of courage to expose these fraudulent and misleading claims and outright lies.

  9. Advantage plans are a scam that once you give up traditional Medicare and your supplement you are likely to be stuck with the advantage plans that have reduced benefits, lower quality care, fewer providers and other bad impacts. Jost say no to HMO.

  10. Hi, I got my Flex card today in mail. I understood that I could use this to pay my electric bill. Is this true? Where can I find a list of approved FSA items that are accepted for use with this card?

    1. Unfortunately, electric bills are not an approved medical expense that would be allowed on a flex card. Typically your insurance provider will provide a list of items that are eligible for purchase with your Flex Card.

      1. I need help for my parents, they have Medicare part b, how I can get an insurance to cover dental and vision please

      2. Carol, there are several dental and vision options available to help your parents with coverage. Give us a call at the number above and our agents will go through all of the plans available in your area and which plans will best fit their needs.

      1. Amy, the first step is finding a plan in your area that offers the flex card benefit. You can do this on Medicare.gov. Once you find a plan, you must have an eligible enrollment period to enroll.

    1. I am being blasted with ads for a Flex Card on my face book acct. THANKS for enlightening me! IF it smells like BS, it probably is!

  11. The Flex card company is suppose to call me back. I’m glad I looked it up first. Thank you for the info. I’m not going to sign up for it.

  12. I appreciate this info, Jagger! I’ve been getting a text message about receiving a flex card for +$2,000 & thought it was a scam or a thief who’d hack my phone if I replied! I’m glad to know it’s probably a telemarketer trying to get me to sign up for their Medicare Advantage plan. However, thanks to your info, I’ll be contacting my current plan provider. Thank you!

  13. I was about to call the telemarketing people back to enroll in the flex card program and I happened to see your website. Thank you for clearing up the misconceptions about the flex card. Glad I didn’t call them back.

  14. i am 90 yrs old text message received for flex card. i try to apply for find out details and your web side give me perfect true knowelege. this is dump ad. for senior harresment. thank you brother for help all senior who read add for flex card for medicare reciever thank you JAGGER ‘GOD BLESS YOU & your family & your company too. excellent boy.

    1. How do I find out if I have medicare for am part BI know I had medicaid but I’ve had it for over 10 years.

  15. Thanks for making this clear. The ads are very misleading
    No need for me to waste time applying. Thank you so much.

  16. This is the best information about this I have found. I enrolled in a plan that said they would live me 200 a quarter to spend on whatever I like. I got the card I did. But nothing would go through i called and asked why it was not working and they gave me a list of crap items i could buy. Nothing i will ever need. I have switched to a different supplement and am more happy now with this garbage gone. Wish I would have seen this sooner

  17. Thank you for the information, I was rather confused, about the flex card was, the ads are very misleading

  18. So many people are being fooled by insurance companies because the ads make it appear these cards are from original medicare. They wind up with an insurance company instead of having government issued benefits supplying there medical needs. More needs to be done to make the public aware of this trick by private policies that don’t pay as good as original Medicare part a and b. Thanks for making this clear.

    1. Gloria, unfortunately you are not able to purchase groceries with a flex card. There are limited situations in which a dietitian may prescribe a meal supplement, in that case you would be able to purchase the supplement, but not everyday groceries. However, to best understand your plan’s limitations you should reach out to your plan provider.

  19. There is some information about the card that states you can buy food with it. The true Medicare states it’s used for co-payments, prescriptions, OTC medications but, nothing about buying food. I’m glad I checked first.

    1. Michelle, it is a good thing you checked! This card is for Medicare-approved expenses only. There are tons of false advertisements regarding Flex cards, I am glad this article was able to provide clarification.

      1. I got my flex card today for $500. I can only use it on medical, dental, and eye glasses and appointments. I wish it was for more because the dentist and eye glasses alone are so expensive. Anyways, I am grateful for what I got.

  20. I am so glad for the information. It helped me a lot to understand what the Flex card is about. Thank you

      1. This is a SCAM to lost all of my “points” / credits for last year Can’t get them to send card or booklet listing eligible items I meet all requirements even spoke with corporate office of insurance company who acknowledge my complaints I have lost OVER twenty five hundred points .. 1 point for 1 dollar 25 hundred dollars the insurance stopped paying my qualifying medical bills SCAM it is United Health Care this should be awarded to a reputable insurance company not UHC reps are one page ahead of you in the book not knowledgeable

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