About Those Pesky Medicare Advantage TV Ads - Wall Street Journal

If you watch TV at all, you’ve seen familiar faces touting how your healthcare life could be so much more wonderful if you’ll only “call the number on the screen.” A past football star, a fictional spaceship captain, and an aging actor/comedian are the most prominent purveyors of that promise, at least one of which you will see during almost every TV network commercial break from October of each year until April of the following year. So, what’s that all about? It’s a marketing program for private Medicare Advantage insurance, and it starts each fall as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7) approaches and usually continues through the Medicare General Enrollment Period (Jan. 1 – Mar. 31). Those are periods when it’s possible to change your healthcare insurance from original Medicare to a private Medicare Advantage plan, or to switch from one Advantage plan to another. As you have undoubtedly seen, these ads promise wonderful things (including a possible premium rebate), but do they go too far? Well, they sometimes do, according to the federal government, who has tightened the rules for marketing of Medicare Advantage insurance. The result will (hopefully) be somewhat more muted TV commercials for Medicare Advantage, as explained in this Wall Street Journal article by Leslie Scism.

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