What Is the Medicare Flex Card?

Prepaid flex cards for seniors help Medicare Advantage members pay for certain expenses.
Kate Ashford, CSA®
By Kate Ashford, CSA® 
Edited by Holly Carey

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A Medicare flex card is a preloaded debit card offered by some Medicare Advantage plans that members can use for certain expenses like over-the-counter health items, assistive devices and utilities.

Although flex cards for seniors are associated with Medicare, they’re not provided by the government. They’re a potential benefit from Medicare Advantage plans, which are a bundled alternative to Original Medicare plans and sold by private health insurance companies.

What do Medicare flex cards cover?

Costs you pay for with your Medicare flex card vary by plan, but some common categories include:

  • Groceries (such as healthy items like vegetables and fresh meats).

  • Utilities (such as gas, water and electricity).

  • Over-the-counter health items (such as toothpaste and vitamins).

  • Assistive devices (such as handrails, shower stools and temporary mobility ramps).

  • Allowance for health care costs (such as dental, vision or hearing care).

  • Fitness (such as fees for sports facilities or fitness classes).

  • Weight loss (hospital- or non-hospital-based programs). 

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans

How do you use a flex card for seniors?

Flex cards are typically preloaded at monthly, quarterly or annual intervals with an allowance you can use toward one or more categories. You might be able to choose the category you want to use your flex card for, or your plan may offer a flex card for a specific cost, such as dental or vision care expenses.

You can use your prepaid flex card like you’d use a debit card: Present it at checkout and the money will be deducted from your flex card balance. You might also be able to use it to buy things online.

How much money is on a flex card for seniors?

The amount of your benefit will depend on your plan. Common benefit amounts range from $250 to $1,500 per year. Your plan may offer different benefit amounts for different categories.

How do you get a Medicare flex card?

Medicare flex cards are available with certain Medicare Advantage plans. If you choose Medicare Advantage, you can compare plan benefits and look for a plan that offers a flex card.

However, don’t choose a plan solely for the flex card benefit. Make sure you carefully compare Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage and find the best plan for your needs overall, including making sure your doctors are in-network and your prescription drugs are covered.

Some Medicare Advantage providers only offer flex cards for members who meet certain requirements, such as having a certain chronic condition. And you may live in an area of the country where a plan with a flex card isn’t an option for you.

Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans

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