AARP Eye Center
Trust your instinct. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
That’s the case with recent fraudulent activity involving Medicare flex cards, the prepaid debit cards available only through some private Medicare Advantage plans. The scam involves someone impersonating a Medicare representative who tries to encourage you to purchase a Medicare flex card.
Only certain Medicare Advantage plans distribute flex cards to eligible members — quarterly or annually — to cover some health-related expenses, such as over-the-counter medicine, dental care copays and other out-of-pocket costs. They also can provide a grocery allowance for healthful food such as produce.
Even though the card is called a Medicare flex card, it has nothing to do with original Medicare.
How it works
Some advertisements claim that Medicare is giving out flex cards containing several hundred dollars to apply toward food and other items. This particular scam directs you to a website where you’ll be asked to provide personal information that can be stolen, such as a Social Security number, credit card number or bank account information.
This is similar to another Medicare card scam in which impostors posing as government representatives ask for your personal information to send you a replacement Medicare card. You can get a replacement card by calling Medicare (800-633-4227) or downloading the card from your online Medicare account and printing a copy. No one is going to phone you to send you one.
You also face the chance of your Medicare number being used to file false Medicare claims in your name. That’s why you should be one step ahead of these scams.