Government to Monitor Medicare Advantage Ads

Government to Monitor Medicare Advantage Ads

With the Medicare open enrollment season soon upon us, ‘tis the season for Medicare Advantage ads again.

Because of that, TSCL participated in a video conference on Sept. 20 sponsored by KFF (formerly the Kaiser Family Foundation), which discussed the ads and what the government is doing to monitor them.

We learned that there were over 650,000 of the ads last fall, which surprises no one who watches TV. We also learned that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has learned through their surveys that people enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans with dental coverage end up paying about the same as those enrolled in traditional Medicare.

There is a lot of confusion about the ads because, among other things, there are more than 40 MA plans.

Unsurprisingly, there are deceptive things in the ads, including calling the number they give a “Medicare hotline” or a “Medicare number,” when those numbers are private numbers that reach insurance agents or brokers.

For the first time this year, CMS is reviewing all the ads that will be shown on TV or social media. The companies that sponsor the ads are forbidden to picture an actual Medicare card or refer to their phone number as a “Medicare number.”

We were also told that state health insurance programs are a very good source for people to get the facts about MA plans.

Finally, we learned that the phone numbers in the ads are not good numbers to call for information about Medigap plans. For good information about Medigap plans, it is best to call the actual Medicare hotline: 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227).