No, traditional health insurance does not include non-medical benefits like grocery cards or gym memberships – InsuranceNewsNet
The 2022 Medicare Open Enrollment Period is scheduled to begin on
A number of VERIFY readers have emailed and texted VERIFY asking if these benefits are real. Joyce, for example, asked, “Are Medicare beneficiaries eligible for
Are traditional Medicare beneficiaries entitled to free non-medical benefits?
Health insurance companies, including ClearMatch Medicare,
Consumer Reports, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization
No, traditional Medicare beneficiaries are not eligible for free non-medical benefits. These are part of Medicare Advantage plans operated by private companies.
WHAT WE FOUND
Various non-medical benefits are offered by private Medicare Advantage plans, which differ from the standard initial Medicare plan offered by the federal government.
The federal government contracts with private insurers to administer Medicare Advantage plans. The federal government requires these plans to cover the same services as the original health insurance — with some exceptions like clinical trials and palliative care — and allows these plans to provide additional coverage or benefits.
“With a Medicare Advantage plan, you can have coverage for things that original Medicare doesn’t cover, like fitness programs (gym memberships or discounts),” CMS says. “Plans may also cover even more benefits. For example, some plans may provide coverage for services such as transportation for doctor visits, over-the-counter medications that Part D does not cover, and services that promote your health and well-being.
“Services that promote your health and well-being” include grocery benefits that promote healthy meals. Original Medicare does not cover groceries or grocery delivery, says
Several health insurance companies include a grocery benefit in their Medicare Advantage plans, including ClearMatch Medicare,
There are many different Medicare Advantage plans, some of which may be cheaper and more beneficial to you than original Medicare. But it highly depends on what you need and where you live, so original health insurance may be more cost-effective for you.
Consumer Reports, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, says Medicare Advantage plans are generally good for healthy adults in urban and suburban areas. But people with chronic conditions or serious health needs, and people who live in rural areas, may be better off with Original Medicare depending on the Medicare Advantage plans available to them.
KFF found that almost everyone on Medicare Advantage plans pays less for a three-day hospital stay than people on Original Medicare. But it also found that more than half of Medicare Advantage enrollees start paying more than original Medicare enrollees once a hospital stay lasts up to seven days.
You need to research which plan is right for you and whether the added benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan will actually save you money between premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Your local health insurance assistance program may be able to provide information and enrollment assistance to help you choose the plan that’s right for you.