CMS Marketing Best Practices + Agent Broker Marketing FAQ

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES | Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services | Center for Medicare
DATE: October 19, 2022
TO: All Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plan Sponsors
FROM: Kathryn A. Coleman Director
SUBJECT: CMS Monitoring Activities and Best Practices during the Annual Election Period

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issues this memorandum informing Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations and Part D sponsors of CMS monitoring activities and sharing plan and sponsor best practices during the 2023 Annual Election Period (AEP), running from October 15, 2022 to December 7, 2023.

CMS is concerned about the marketing practices of all entities, including Third-Party Marketing Organizations. We have reviewed thousands of complaints and hundreds of audio calls and have identified numerous issues with information provided to beneficiaries that is confusing, misleading and/or inaccurate. CMS has conducted so-called “secret shopping” by calling numbers associated with television advertisements, mailings, newspaper advertisements, and internet searches to monitor the experience beneficiaries have engaging these entities. Our secret shopping activities have discovered that some agents were not complying with current regulation and unduly pressuring beneficiaries, as well as failing to provide accurate or enough information to assist a beneficiary in making an informed enrollment decision.  READ THE FULL RELEASE: HPMS Marketing Practices Memo

Contract Year 2023 Medicare Advantage Marketing Policies – Frequently Asked Questions
On May 9, 2022, CMS published its contract year 2023 Medicare Advantage (MA) (Part C) and Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) final rule (87 FR 27704), wherein CMS established certain marketing and communications requirements for the Part C and Part D programs. These rules were designed to address complaints of inappropriate marketing that CMS received from beneficiaries and their caregivers. In response to a significant increase in marketing-related complaints, CMS staff reviewed numerous recordings of calls from different marketing entities, including individual agents and brokers, as well as larger call centers. The agents failed to provide the beneficiary with the necessary information or provided inaccurate information to make an informed choice for more than 80 percent of the calls reviewed. Examples included beneficiaries being told that if their medication was not on the formulary, the doctor could tell the plan and the plan would simply add it; or incorrectly stating that “nothing would change” when beneficiaries asked if their current health coverage would stay the same.
As 2023 annual open enrollment begins, CMS has received questions regarding these changes, including , the requirement related to recording calls between beneficiaries and Third-Party Marketing Organizations (TPMOs) and the requirements related to the TPMO disclaimer.  READ THE FULL RELEASE: Agent Broker Marketing FAQs_10.19.2022