Each fall comes this blizzard of TV commercials for the so-called Medicare Advantage plans featuring 60’s football star Joe Namath urging seniors to call the Medicare Coverage Helpline . . . “FOR FREE!”
Are they a shameful piece of TV marketing aimed at a most vulnerable and hard-pressed segment of our population—seniors? Or are the endzone passes Joe throws on the up and up?
Without a deeper dive into the playbook, It’s hard to say as there are those who claim it’s perfectly proper and legit and even helpful in providing extra benefits to seniors who need them, yet some still call it a con job.
Still, I seriously doubt Broadway Joe would play for the latter team and risk blemishing his sterling record for a few more measly millions, but I’d sure feel better if the commercials said in much larger type what they really are.
Medicare Advantage plans are only available through private insurance companies and have nothing whatsoever to do with government-provided Medicare.
But the call is FREE! exclaims Joe, who played quarterback for the NY Jets back in the 1960 and today has a reported net worth from $20 to $25 million. So why play this scrimmage with seniors about something as important as their health zone?
The Joe Namath ad for the Medicare Coverage Helpline includes some tiny print that few seniors could possibly read on the television screen saying it has nothing to do with the government.
The Truth Behind the Line
It’s important for beneficiaries to know the truth behind the advertising line. If you aren’t informed, some of the claims in Advantage commercials can be misleading.
When you’re educated regarding Medicare options, you’ll soon realize the Medicare commercials Joe is featuring are only for Medicare Advantage plans and Advantage policies are available only through private insurance companies.
So, these commercials are not from Medicare or the government. In fact, a large Medicare agency pays Namath to advertise Advantage policies that beneficiaries can purchase from their agents.
With Advantage plans, Medicare pays carriers to take on the beneficiary’s risk. Thus, Part C (the Advantage policy through a private insurance company) pays instead of the government health program (Part A and Part B).
Some of the claims in the Joe Namath Medicare commercials are attractive like free (or reduced cost) dental, hearing aids and even free travel to see doctors, etc. However, you’ll want to do your research about individual plans before choosing Advantage coverage.
So, the Mojo is No-Joe Scam
No, bottom-line, the Joe Namath Medicare commercials are not a scam. Confusing to some, maybe, but not a scam. They advertise legitimate Advantage plans, but include few details about the benefits, plus that expo in such small type. A large company pays Namath to appear in their advertisements and tell viewers to call a number where they can buy plans.
And the call is FREE!
Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available in January on Amazon. He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.