Fair Square Medicare Wordmark

What's the Deal with Flex Cards?

Black debit card changing hands against a yellow background stock image
By Daniel Petkevich
Dec 15, 2022

Medicare buyers beware

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, we're talking about the viral Facebook posts that promise free groceries for seniors just by signing up for Medicare. If you were skeptical about these claims, you were right to be. Read on to learn more about Flex Cards on Medicare and the best way to save money when choosing a plan.

Stay Up to Date on Medicare!

Join the Fair Square Medicare Newsletter to stay informed on cost savings, changes to Medicare, and other valuable healthcare information.

What is a Flex Card?

A Flex Card is a prepaid debit card available to only a select few Medicare beneficiaries on a few Medicare Advantage plans. If you saw one of those posts mentioned above on Facebook, that might have been your first time learning about Flex Cards. That is because plans that offer Flex Cards are exceedingly rare, and you need to meet specific criteria to qualify. The promise of "Free Groceries for Seniors" is, unfortunately, an empty one.
In reality, these cards are usually linked to a flexible spending account (or FSA) with a small number of Medicare Advantage plans. Rather than the almost $3,000 that you may spend as you please that was promised on the image that went viral, most Flex Cards only offer, on average, $500 on approved medical supplies and treatments.

Who can get a Flex Card?

While it's partly true that Medicare beneficiaries are eligible to receive a Flex Card, the only plans that offer Flex Cards are Medicare Advantage plans. So if you've got a Medicare Supplement plan that you love (

as so many of our clients do

), then you are not eligible.
Only a small number of Medicare Advantage plans offer this as an added benefit. So, many people on Medicare Advantage plans they already love are also not eligible.
And research has shown that the only people who can get groceries approved on their Flex Cards are those with chronic illnesses. So even if you select one of the few Medicare Advantage plans with a Flex Card as a potential benefit, you might still not be eligible for free groceries.

Why are they being marketed so aggressively?

If the Flex Cards are so rare, why are they being marketed as if everyone could get free groceries on Medicare? Some marketing tactics used to get people to join Medicare Advantage plans have been dubious at best. Medicare Advantage plans are the fastest growing in all of Medicare, and a big reason for that is that many Medicare brokerages are motivated by the relatively higher commissions they receive for selling private Medicare Advantage plans.
The promise of free groceries can be enticing when deciding between many different Medicare plan options. Most of these plans with Flex Cards are HMO plans, which limit your ability to see healthcare professionals outside of your network. Oftentimes, you're being sold on a plan with worse overall coverage in favor of redundant perks.

Fair Square Medicare

, we are motivated by client satisfaction rather than commission. We would rather take the time to find the best plan for you than try to sell you on a gimmick that pays us a higher commission.

Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement plans

For some of our clients, a

Medicare Advantage plan

is the best option. Some of these examples might ring true for you:
  • You can't afford the monthly premiums of Medicare Supplement plans.
  • The savings you get from extra perks, such as dental, vision, or hearing benefits, might outweigh the savings you get from other medical expenses on Medicare Supplement plans.
  • The limited network on Medicare Advantage does not impede you.
Medicare Advantage plans are not inherently bad, but they are frequently misunderstood. And generally, we recommend Medicare Supplement Plan G against all other plans. We've already done

a deep dive

into how exactly Plan G can save you money in the face of large medical bills. Let's do a quick recap below, using the example of two years of costs following a broken hip:

A broken hip on a Medicare Advantage plan

  • Monthly Premium of $164.90 × 24 = $3,957.60
  • A realistic scenario with an ambulance ($300), 5 day hospital stay ($300 per day for the first week), weekly physical therapy ($10 copayment), monthly specialist visits ($35 copayment), and monthly primary care visits ($10 copayment) will have them spending ($300 + $1500) + (104 × $10) + (24 × $25) + (24 × $10)
  • Total = $1800 + $1,040 + $840 + $240 = $3,920 + $3,957.60 = $7,877.60
  • A worst-case scenario will see them hit Max. Out-of-Pocket Cost of $5,500 per year × 2 = $11,000
  • Total = $11,000 + $3,957.60 = $14,957.60

A broken hip on Medicare Supplement Plan G

  • Monthly Premium ($164.90 + $115) × 24 = $6,717.60
  • Annual Part B Deductible of $226 × 2 = $452
  • Total: $7,169.60
This is just one example, but the takeaway is that Medicare Supplement Plan G saves you money on reasonable medical expenses and makes budgeting a no-brainer. Flex Cards can't offer savings like these.

Why you should exercise caution

You might be thinking, "I'm healthy now, so I can join Medicare Advantage when I turn 65. As I have more medical expenses in the future, then I will switch to Plan G." Not so fast.
Once you opt-in for a Medicare Advantage plan, you might have to go through medical underwriting if you apply to switch to a Supplement. Underwriting means that a representative for your insurance company can go through your medical history in search of pre-existing conditions. If any pre-existing conditions are found, the insurance company might deny you coverage or offer you a much higher monthly premium.


Finding the right Medicare plan can be a challenging process. So the promise of free groceries can be enticing when presented as an option. Unfortunately, it's an empty promise. Rather than picking a plan that offers the flashiest perks, choose a plan that suits your needs. Or better yet, call an expert at Fair Square Medicare at 888-376-2028. We will show you the plan that fits you best.

Stay Up to Date on Medicare!

Join the Fair Square Medicare Newsletter to stay informed on cost savings, changes to Medicare, and other valuable healthcare information.

Recommended Articles

Cover image
What Is a Medicare Advantage POS Plan?
May 10, 2023
Gloved hands with a scalpel begin a knee replacement surgery
Does Medicare Cover Iovera Treatment?
Jan 11, 2023
Cover image
Can Medicare Advantage Plans be Used Out of State?
Jun 12, 2023
Seattle Public Market stock image
14 Best Ways for Seniors to Stay Active in Seattle
Mar 10, 2023
Asian senior male patient having him eyes examined by laser machine
Finding the Best Vision Plans for Seniors
Jan 6, 2023
Cover image
The Fair Square Bulletin: The End of the COVID Emergency Declaration
May 30, 2023
Female physiotherapist helping elderly man in wheelchair do exercises with dumbbells at health center stock photo
What Does Medicare Cover for Stroke Patients?
Jan 20, 2023
woman in a hospital wearing a bandana being shown information by her doctor stock photo
Medicare Advantage Plans for Disabled People Under 65
Mar 24, 2023
How to Choose a Medigap Plan
Jan 10, 2023
Sinusitis. stock illustration
Is Balloon Sinuplasty Covered by Medicare?
Dec 1, 2022
Doctor talking to patients are explaining the treatment of a patient's illness stock photo
How Much Does Rexulti Cost with Medicare?
Jan 24, 2023
Diagnosis overactive bladder stock image
Does Medicare Cover PTNS?
Dec 9, 2022
Close up of a woman sitting on a bed experiencing back pain
Does Medicare Cover TENS Units?
Nov 23, 2022
Unrecognizable person undergoing surgery in the clinic stock photo
Does Medicare Cover Robotic Surgery?
Nov 28, 2022
Unrecognizable doctor holding highlighted handrawn Kidneys in hands. Medical illustration, template, science mockup. stock photo
Does Medicare Cover Nexavar?
Nov 30, 2022
heart surgery stock image
How Much Does Open Heart Surgery Cost with Medicare?
Jan 27, 2023
Cover image
Can I Use Medicare Part D at Any Pharmacy?
Aug 28, 2023
Medigap vs. Medicare Advantage
May 25, 2020

More of our articles

13 Best Ways for Seniors to Stay Active in Columbus

13 Best Ways for Seniors to Stay Active in Jacksonville

13 Best Ways for Seniors to Stay Active in Philadelphia

14 Best Ways for Seniors to Stay Active in Washington, D.C.

2024 "Donut Hole" Updates

2024 Cost of Living Adjustment

Are Medicare Advantage Plans Bad?

Can Doctors Choose Not to Accept Medicare?

Can I Laminate My Medicare Card?

Can I switch From Medicare Advantage to Medigap?

Do I Need Medicare If My Spouse Has Insurance?

Does Medicare Cover Abortion Services?

Does Medicare Cover an FMT?

Does Medicare Cover Boniva?

Does Medicare Cover Breast Implant Removal?

Does Medicare Cover Cartiva Implants?

Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery?

Does Medicare Cover Diabetic Eye Exams?

Does Medicare Cover Disposable Underwear?

Does Medicare Cover ESRD Treatments?

Does Medicare Cover Fosamax?

Does Medicare Cover Geri Chairs?

Does Medicare Cover Hepatitis C Treatment?

Does Medicare Cover Home Heart Monitors?

Does Medicare Cover Inqovi?

Does Medicare Cover Inspire for Sleep Apnea?

Does Medicare Cover Jakafi?

Does Medicare Cover Light Therapy for Psoriasis?

Does Medicare Cover Lipoma Removal?

Does Medicare Cover LVAD Surgery?

Does Medicare Cover Macular Degeneration?

Does Medicare Cover Mental Health?

Does Medicare Cover Penile Implant Surgery?

Does Medicare Cover Piqray?

Does Medicare Cover Qutenza?

Does Medicare Cover Service Animals?

Does Medicare Cover the WATCHMAN Procedure?

Does Medicare Cover Zilretta?

Does Medicare Pay for Bunion Surgery?

Does Medicare Pay for Funeral Expenses?

Does Medicare pay for Opdivo?

Does Medicare Pay for Varicose Vein Treatment?

Everything About Your Medicare Card + Medicare Number

How Are Medicare Star Ratings Determined?

How Can I Get a Replacement Medicare Card?

How Do I Sign up for Medicare? A Simple How-To Guide For You

How Does Medicare Cover Colonoscopies?

How Does Medicare Pay for Emergency Room Visits?

How Does the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Affect Your Medicare?

How is Medicare Changing in 2023?

How Medicare Costs Can Pile Up

How Much Does Medicare Part A Cost in 2023?

How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost in 2023?

How Often Can I Change Medicare Plans?

How Your Employer Insurance and Medicare Work Together

Is Emsella Covered by Medicare?

Medicare 101

Medicare Consulting Services

Medicare Explained

Plan G vs. Plan N

The Easiest Call You'll Ever Make

Top 10 Physical Therapy Clinics in San Diego

Welcome to Fair Square's First Newsletter

What If I Don't Like My Plan?

What Is a Medicare Supplement SELECT Plan?

What is the 8-Minute Rule on Medicare?

What Is the Medicare Birthday Rule in Nevada?

What To Do If Your Medicare Advantage Plan Is Discontinued

What to Do When Your Doctor Doesn't Take Medicare

What You Need to Know About Creditable Coverage

When Can You Change Medicare Supplement Plans?

Why You Should Keep Your Medigap Plan

Your Medicare One-Stop-Shop

Your guide to Medicare Parts A & B, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap. 100% free.
Get the Fair Square Bulletin

Medicare savings tips, helpful guides, and more.


Medicare 101

Current Clients

Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Advantage Plans

Fair Square 2023

Terms of Use
Notice of Privacy Practices

Virgil Insurance Agency, LLC (DBA Fair Square Medicare) and www.fairsquaremedicare.com are privately owned and operated by Help Button Inc. Medicare supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation of insurance. A licensed agent/producer may contact you. Medicare Supplement insurance is available to those age 65 and older enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and, in some states, to those under age 65 eligible for Medicare due to disability or End-Stage Renal disease. Virgil Insurance Agency is a licensed and certified representative of Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP and PFFS organizations and stand-alone PDP prescription drug plans. Each of the organizations we represent has a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. The plans we represent do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov. © 2022 Help Button Inc

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.