Television Ads

Published on June 29th, 2017

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Medicare Coverage Helpline

With heath care uncertainty front and center in the news of late, an advertisement by the Medicare Coverage Helpline alerting consumers about extra benefits, such as hearing, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage, certainly sparks interest.

The ad, complete with an American flag, features a man identified as Dr. Jason Buchwald and urges consumers to call a special hotline to find out about coverage they may not know is available. Don’t delay!

But what may not be as apparent is that the Medicare Coverage Helpline is not a government hotline at all and Buchwald is a paid spokesman (did you catch those disclosures? Probably not, as they flash by quickly in fine print within a couple of seconds). The helpline is part of TogetherHealth, a Delaware incorporated limited liability company based in Florida for which Buchwald is listed on state business records as a manager (that part is not disclosed at all in the ad).

What also flashes by quickly in the commercial is a bunch of other important caveats squished into one page of tiny print in the ad. The hard to read screen print reveals that your phone call to the hotline is actually “sold” to a licensed insurance agent. And those additional vision, dental and prescription drug benefits repeatedly mentioned in the ad? Those benefits may not actually be available in your region. In fact, consumers have to check their state insurance commission to find out what is offered in their areas.

Before calling, beneficiaries may want to do more research into what consumers are saying about TogetherHealth and reach out to Medicare.gov, which is the government agency.

Find more of TINA.org’s coverage of health insurance here.

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