You’ve seen the tv ads – football great Joe Namath – or Star Trek legend William Shatner – pitch you on Medicare plans that will “add money back into your Social Security check,” deliver extra benefits and so on. I’ve posted an example below, just in case you somehow have missed out.

These ads are run by brokerages and marketing firms that earn commissions by referring enrollees to health insurance companies. Medicare officials say there’s been a surge in consumer complaints about misleading claims by these outfits, and the government has issued new rules aimed at tamping down the marketing. Brokers will be subject to tougher disclose rules, but most significantly, Medicare will hold insurers responsible for what their marketing agents say in ads.

The blizzard of marketing for Advantage plans – and Part D prescription drug plans add to the challenges retirees already face sorting through complicated plan options. The Commonwealth Fund has published research on the ways that brokers influence plan choices.

Learn more in this week’s newsletter.