Medicare is the U.S. government’s health insurance available to seniors 65 years of age and older. Unfortunately, one thing that has plagued Medicare in the U.S. for quite some time was deceptive or misleading advertisements. Just recently, however, President Joe Biden and the Biden administration have begun to crack down on these deceptive ads. In this article, we will discuss what has changed and what this all means for the future of Medicare.
What was the problem?
Because Medicaid is a health insurance available only to individuals of 65 years of age and older, it’s understandable that not everyone knew there was a problem regarding these misleading ads. Even some of those who currently receive Medicaid are unaware that these deceptive practices were occurring. So, what exactly were these companies advertising that made them so bad?
The thing that makes these advertisements so misleading was that they made it seem as though they were coming from the government. While they may not have directly stated they were the government, it could be easily implied that this is the case. These companies might not mention any type of plan name and may have used the official Medicare logo.
Ultimately, this combined with the fact that Medicare is only available for seniors aged 65+ may have contributed to the spread of this misinformation. Because many seniors aren’t completely tech savvy, advertisements that didn’t make it clear they weren’t the government would simply be treated as though they were.
What has changed?
President Biden’s new law that strengthens Medicaid is what targets these misleading advertisements. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is finalizing a rule that not only protects Medicare recipients, but also makes Medicare stronger as a whole.
As mentioned before, there is a scheme that involves companies using misleading advertisements to get people to sign up for their Medicare Advantage programs. The CMS states the following regarding these advertisements:
“Ads will be prohibited if they do not mention a specific plan name, or if they use the Medicare name, CMS logo, and products or information issued by the Federal Government, including the Medicare card, in a misleading way. Further, the final rule strengthens accountability for plans to monitor agent and broker activity.”
This means these types of advertisements should stop completely and customers should know for certain what type of plan they are purchasing.
Who does this affect the most?
There are currently 65 million Americans who are enrolled in Medicare. This new law that was signed will affect the way they receive their Medicare and what plans they choose to go with. Those who benefit from Medicare will be empowered to make better choices regarding their health care. The changes we have mentioned are also only a small part of the overall rule.
For example, one new thing it adds is President Biden’s new prescription drug law. This law is a part of the Inflation Reduction Act and aims to improve access to affordable prescription drug coverage for approximately 300,000 low-income individuals.
What does this mean for the future?
Health care in the U.S. has a long way to go, but the changes this rule will bring will benefit many seniors looking into, or already using Medicare. There are many other things outlined in this rule, so if you would like to see the full list you can head here to the CMS website. The U.S. healthcare system is by no means perfect, so seeing changes like this occurring is something we will likely see more of in the near future.
If you would like to learn more about potential scams/schemes to avoid, check out our coverage of the IRS’ “Dirty Dozen.”