You’re watching television and up pops one of those commercials to “help you” pick a Medicare plan.
By ‘those’ commercials, we mean ads that feature a celebrity spokesperson (Joe Namath and William Shatner being the most common) who is pitching a particular company’s Medicare plan. The spokesperson in question is probably someone you remember from years past. He or she could be a former athlete, a singer you liked ‘back in the day’ or an actor who played a supporting role on a television show you loved once upon a time.
A quarterback who got sacked, an actor who played a quirky neighbor on a sitcom, or a singer who had a hit when you were in high school? Why should you think they know much about selecting something as important as picking a Medicare plan?
Why have the advertisers selected those spokespeople to pitch their Medicare products? You already know why. The advertisers are betting that you’ll be influenced by celebrities to make a decision. But as you have already concluded on your own, there is no reason to allow yourself to be influenced by them. The advertiser is only using them to establish an emotional connection with you.
To quote from “The Benefits of Companies Using a Celebrity Spokesperson,” an article that AJ Agrawal wrote for Forbes on April 12, 2016, “Building brand awareness through a celebrity spokesperson will gain a brand instant publicity. In the long-term, it will encourage more and more customers to find out more about the business their favorite celebrity happens to be supporting.”
The government is cracking down
In November 2022, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released a report reviewing the deceptive marketing practices by Medicare Advantage plans, which found an increase in complaints from 2020 to 2021.
In particular the report called out celebrity ads ad being ‘aggressive’ and ‘deceptive’:
The Senate Finance Committee found evidence that beneficiaries are
being inundated with aggressive marketing tactics as well as false and misleading information,
Widespread television advertisements with celebrities claim that seniors are missing outDeceptive Marketing Practices Flourish in Medicare Advantage (Senate Finance Committee) – 2022
on benefits, including higher Social Security payments, in order to prompt seniors to call
MA plan agent or broker hotlines.
Who can you rely on when picking a Medicare plan?
At CoverRight, we always recommend you speak to a licensed professional that represents multiple plans. CoverRight’s licensed Medicare advisors are always available to help, and there is no charge or obligation to enroll.
Why use CoverRight? Part of what makes Medicare so confusing is that it’s not a single plan you simply opt into once you turn 65. Medicare is segmented into a variety of public and private plans, and you have to enroll in the right bundle to get all the coverage you need.
CoverRight demystifies choice-making and helps you find out which combination of Medicare coverage is best suited to your specific situation.