Next Avenue: Confused by an avalanche of Medicare ads? Deceptive marketing has some experts calling for action.

by | Jan 11, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from If the volley of flyers, brochures, letters, emails, social media ads and other marketing materials unleashed by insurance companies during Medicare open enrollment last fall had you feeling under siege, you’re not alone.

“I am a college graduate, but I do not understand any of it,” says Liz Markowski, 74, of Vergennes, Vermont, a retired nurse and small-business owner. “Frankly, I don’t want to understand it. I just want to be able to go to my doctor when I need to.” Confusion is rampant. Complaints about deceptive marketing aimed at enticing Medicare-eligible consumers to join or switch plans more than doubled between 2020 and 2021, according to a report released in December by Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee. The avalanche of competing plans is especially challenging for people experiencing cognitive decline, Harvard Medical School professors warn in a recent health policy article. A bill introduced in Congress in the fall of 2022 would attempt to ease some of the bewilderment by prohibiting private insurers from using the term “Medicare” in plan names or marketing materials, with fines for those who fail to comply. But the marketplace is likely to remain baffling. Private insurers offer some 3,000 Medicare Advantage plans nationwide, along with myriad Medigap, Part D, vision and dental policies.Making sense of Medicare So, it makes sense to take steps now to ensure a productive open enrollment journey in 2023. Here’s what experts and experienced Medicare consumers recommend adding to your list of New Year’s resolutions:Know your plan Only 6% to 12% of consumers switch plans during Medicare open enrollment, according to a study released in November by the Kaiser Family …

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