Medicare commercials – there are a lot of them out there! Today we are going to concentrate on the commercials featuring Joe Nameth and Jimmie “J.J.” Walker. Have you seen them? These commercials boast several benefits, promise to save you money on Medicare Part B, indicate that these plans are free, and so much more! That sounds pretty good, right?
As a local Medicare insurance agent, I felt it was important to address these specific Medicare commercials and share with you some valuable information about Medicare. Afterward, you will be able to decide for yourself if the Medicare plans these celebrities are paid to promote are the real deal…or really misleading. Are you ready? Let’s jump in!
Medicare Commercial Promises and What You Should Know
Once you sign up for Medicare Part A & B, you will have to decide whether or not a Supplement plan or Medicare Advantage Plan is going to be the best fit for you.
The Joe Nameth and J.J. commercials are only talking about Medicare Advantage plans. As with every good commercial or marketing piece, they contain broad generalizations of what their product covers. Let’s break down some of their promises a little bit, shall we?
Additional Benefits – These commercials are quick to advertise abundant dental benefits, free meal cards, vision, hearing and much more. All Medicare Advantage plans are going to have benefits – that’s one of the benefits of having a Medicare Advantage Plan. However, there are numerous plans, and they are all different with varying benefit packages. For example, while dental benefits may be included in one plan, they are not included in ALL Advantage plans. Do you see now how the commercial’s verbiage is a bit misleading?
Eliminating Copays – Yes, it is true: there are some Advantage plans where not having copays may be applicable. However, what they don’t tell you is those plans are designed for folks who also qualify for certain levels of Medicaid. Additionally, the providers have to be In-Network. The commercials don’t tell you that because their goal is to get you to call in. Once you call in, they will try to lure you with one of the aforementioned benefits. Sneaky!
Coverage for No Additional Cost or for Free – I think we can all agree that nothing in life is for free. Yes, there are several policies that come with a $0 monthly premium. However, there ARE copays, and some plans have deductibles.
Money Added to Your Social Security Each Month – Again, these commercials give a very generalized glimpse of what is available. There are some Medicare Advantage plans that, by signing up for them, you could save some money on your Medicare Part B premium. However, they are based on zip code, and they are NOT available everywhere. Additionally, most of these plans do NOT include prescription drug coverage. There is a lot to consider before signing up for one of these plans!
Now that we tackled the content of these commercials, it’s easy to see that see that Joe and J.J. only only offer very generalized information about Medicare Advantage plans in their claims. The truth is, Medicare plans are detailed and can be tricky to decipher, and commercials about them can be misleading.
Helpful Medicare Advice
Now that you’re more aware of the types of misleading content that are in a lot of Medicare marketing, I want to leave you with some helpful advice:
1) Medicare will NOT call you. If someone is calling you to talk about insurance plans, it is an insurance agent…a sales person. Their goal is to quickly sell you a policy and then move onto the sale.
2) Be careful who you talk to. When talking to the majority of these sales agents, just like these commercials, they will get you really excited about one benefit but not go over the policy in full or fully answer your questions. Their goal is to make a quick sale. I have had several clients tell me an over-the-phone agent was telling them they were being signed up for one plan, but when they received their paperwork in the mail, it’s not only a different plan but with an entirely different company!
3) Find a Medicare insurance agent that works and live in your area. There are so many Medicare Advantage Plans, each with its separate details. Weeding through them all on your own can be overwhelming. I strongly encourage you to talk to a trusted agent who is familiar with your area, providers and hospitals. They will be able to easily narrow down your health plan options, and help you choose the plan that’s best for you. They will make sure you fully understand the monthly premium, copays and annual out of pocket maximum, and will be sure the plan includes the benefits that are important to you.
We Are Local Agents Who Care
If you have questions about your current Medicare health plan or want to see what plans are available in your area, please give us a call. We will check your doctors, hospitals & prescriptions and will make sure you understand the policy in full, not just the highlighted portions. We care about our clients!
To find one of our local agents with many years of experience, click HERE to visit our Find Your Agent webpage. You will find a list of our agents, our contact information, and our bios. When you’re ready, reach out to one of us – we are here to help!