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Medicare Marketing Guidelines for Activities at Sales Events and Appointments
Before you schedule your next sales event, make sure you’re following all of the CMS guidelines detailed in the Medicare Marketing Guidelines.
What Are the Rules for Medicare Sales Events and Appointments?
Print March 1, 2018 infographic Medicare Marketing Guidelines
Getting ready to host a sales event or simply schedule your next sales appointment? Before you send out your invitations and print those sign-in sheets, you’ll want to make sure you’re following the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines dictated in the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (Sections 70.8 and 70.9). The guidelines differ for educational events for potential enrollees and activities at enrollee-only educational events. But we’ve compiled everything you need to know about activities at sales events and appointments right here.
What Does CMS Consider a Sales Event or Appointment?
An activity will be considered a sales event or appointment if it is designed to persuade potential enrollees to choose a specific plan (or set of plans), according to CMS. The inclusion of plan-specific information, sales techniques, and the collection of applications differentiate these events from educational events. Brokers can still educate their clients during a sales event or appointment, but they will still have to follow CMS’ rules for sales events and appointments.
What Brokers Should Do Before an Event or Appointment
Before brokers conduct sales events or appointments, they must submit all sales scripts and presentations to the insurance company they represent. The insurance company is then responsible for submitting those sales and marketing items to CMS for approval. Once the company has received approval from CMS, it will notify the brokers that they may start using their sales materials.
Brokers Are Allowed to Do These Things During an Event or Appointment
Brokers are allowed to do the following during a sales event or appointment.
Educate potential enrollees
Discuss plan-specific information
Collect plan applications
Brokers Must Avoid These Activities During an Event or Appointment
The following activities are prohibited during sales events and appointments.
Conducting health screenings and similar activities that give the impression of “cherry-picking”
Require enrollees to provide their contact information before they can attend a sales event
Even requiring an email, phone number, or address before an individual can RSVP for an event online or through mail is prohibited.
Use personal contact information collected during the event, which the broker has indicated will be used to notify winners of a raffle or similar activity, for any other purpose
If brokers include sign-in sheets at their events, it must be clearly indicated that providing any contact information is completely optional. Otherwise, potential enrollees may think providing this information is a requirement, and the broker responsible will be going against CMS guidelines.
Where to Find More Medicare Marketing Guidelines
Excelsior is taking the time to break down each Medicare Marketing Guideline that brokers need to know. Just visit our online resource center. And if you’re more interested in learning what else Excelsior can do for you, such as teaching you how to double or triple your revenue, contact us today.
Note: For the most current information, see the CMS Medicare Marketing Guidelines.
Rules for Hosting a Compliant Medicare Sales Event
Are you considering holding a marketing event to get the attention of more Medicare clients? You’ll need to follow CMS’ rules for hosting sales events. Check …
Rules for Hosting a Compliant Medicare Sales Event
Published by Roxanne Anderson • Oct 7, 2021
Are you considering holding a marketing event to get the attention of more Medicare clients? You’ll need to follow CMS’ rules for hosting sales events.
Check out our streamlined version of the Medicare Advantage & Part D Communication Requirements for sales events below.Listen to this article:
New for this AEP, some carriers are now requiring proof of COVID vaccination for hosting a carrier-sponsored event. Due to ongoing COVID-19 regulations, Ritter strongly encourages agents to conduct sales events virtually. For more information on your state’s guidelines and how your sales may be affected, check out your state’s Department of Insurance website.
Establishing Your Event
First and foremost, you must determine which type of marketing event you’d like to hold. There are two types of sales events: formal and informal. Here’s what sets them apart:Formal Sales Events: Agent presents plan-specific information to an audience invited to the occasion.Informal Sales Events: Agent offers plan info upon request only while at a table, booth, kiosk, or RV.
After you do that, you should decide on the when and where. You must register sales events with the proper parties and hold them in a public setting where individuals do not receive health care services. Note, you may carry out sales activities in common areas of health care settings, including common entryways, vestibules, waiting rooms, hospital or nursing home cafeterias, and community, recreational, or conference rooms. You may NOT carry out sales activities in exam or hospital patient rooms, treatment areas where patients interact with their provider or provider’s team, and pharmacy counter areas where patients interact with pharmacy providers and obtain medications. Avoid sales activities at health fairs or expos where health screening is being provided to avoid the risk of being perceived as engaging in “cherry picking.”
To meet these fundamental requirements, be sure to schedule your event far enough in advance to reserve a suitable space and let everyone know about it.
Registering Your Event
Do you need to register sales events? Exact reporting deadlines and requirements vary from carrier to carrier, but carriers are responsible for maintaining accurate records of all their agents’ educational events and informal and formal sales events. The earlier you submit your events to carriers, the sooner you’ll be able to start advertising them.
Getting to know all your carriers’ reporting requirements is important. Not registering an event in time with one of them will force you to reschedule it. Furthermore, if you fail to register an event with a carrier, you could lose out on sales commission and have your contract revoked.Note: Any event not advertised as “educational” can be viewed as a marketing event and should be registered as one.
Marketing Medicare Sales Events
While just putting out a flyer with your sales seminar or workshop’s information on it seems nice, it’s unacceptable. You must adhere to certain regulations for marketing your sales event.
When creating ads or invites, you cannot require potential attendees to provide contact information to RSVP for the event. While you may plan to educate attendees on Medicare programs during your presentation, you cannot say your event is “educational.” You should disclose the products you plan on reviewing. Additionally, you must include the following disclaimer on all advertisements and invitations for your event:“For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings call
You can promote your gathering online, via direct mailers and flyers, or through other forms of media. However, if you cancel the event at least two days in advance, it’s a good practice to notify potential attendees via the same advertising channels you used to promote the event.
Giving Your Presentation
Sales events allow agents to try to direct potential enrollees or current members toward a plan or set of plans. Many marketing and lead-generating activities are allowed, but there are rules regarding the information you can collect. See what you can and cannot do at sales events below.Sales Event Do’s and Don’tsDo’s Don’ts
Let beneficiaries approach you first at informal events Offer health screenings or similar activities that could seem like, or be used for, “cherry picking”
Use sign-in sheets that clearly indicate providing contact information is optional Require attendees to use a sign-in sheet
Name all products and plan types you’ll cover before starting Compare one carrier’s plan to other carriers’ plans by name without getting written consent from all carriers involved in the comparison or without having studies or statistical data to back up comparisons (Comparisons must be factually based and can’t be misleading)
Use only carrier- and CMS-approved presentations and talking points Discuss or cross-sell non-health care related products (e.g., annuities, life insurance)
Distribute giveaways with your contact information on it1 Use absolute or qualified superlatives
Compliant Medicare Sales, Marketing and Educational Events
Compliant Medicare Sales, Marketing and Educational Events
Written by Jessica Adkins
Compliance | Education | Marketing | Resources
June 26, 2017
Q. What is the rule for providing food and refreshments at Medicare events?
A. It is that time of year again, and we are preparing for our Medicare events. It is imperative to keep in mind the rules for providing food and refreshments at Medicare events. The Medicare Marketing Guidelines provide guidance on the do’s and dont’s of providing food and drinks at Medicare events.
Before you call a caterer, you will want to ensure you are adhering to the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) for providing food and refreshments at Medicare events. You do not have to flip through the entire document to find the guidance of hosting a compliant educational, or marketing and sales Medicare Event.
Here’s what you need to know:
You can provide food at your Medicare Marketing and Sales Event, however, you are only allowed to provide “refreshments and light snacks.” You are not allowed to provide (or pay for) meals. You will have to use your best judgment on the food you provide. It is your responsibility to ensure everything provided cannot be considered a meal. You will also have to be mindful that refreshments and snacks cannot be grouped together or eaten as if they were a meal.
As far as educational events go, there is an exception to the rules mentioned above. You can provide food and snacks at educational events, but you are also allowed to provide meals. If you would like to provide meals at educational events, however, there are additional rules that must be followed:
The event must meet Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) strict definition of an educational event. When meeting CMS’s definition, the event must be designed to inform beneficiaries about Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage, or another Medicare program. The event absolutely cannot include any marketing efforts. (e.g., you cannot advise, or try to advise, any potential beneficiary towards a particular plan or a set number of plans. You can only educate the attending beneficiaries about all of their product options.)
Any meals provided must comply with the nominal gift required listed in MMG section 70.1.1, meaning that any meal provided (whether to a group or an individual) cannot exceed a nominal value per person. (e.g., if you scheduled an event with 20 attendees, and you are planning to provide meals for each person and spend $300 on the meals in total; the value of each meal, per anticipated attendee, is a nominal $15.
Agent Pipeline is here to help and assist in all things related to insurance, but more specifically Medicare Health Plans. We have unlimited resources and educational materials to help you grow your business and learn the secrets of success. You may also contact a member of your Regional Sales team to find out how to double your income now! Click here to review the listing of Regional Sales Directors, or you may call us directly at 866-562-8318.
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