CMS Marketing Changes
By: Chalen Jackson, Compliance Officer
On May 9, the updated guidelines for marketing Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans were entered and published in the Federal Register. Among the provisions that apply directly to agents, the two most critical are a new required disclaimer and a requirement to record all sales calls with beneficiaries. While not comprehensive, the FAQ below answers the most frequent questions we’ve received so far.
Required Disclaimer FAQs
Who must use this disclaimer?
Any third-party marketing organization (which includes agents and brokers) must include this disclaimer.
When and where do I have to have the disclaimer?
- On all marketing materials, in print (12pt font), electronically, television, and radio
- Within the first minute of all sales calls
- Prominently displayed on TPMO websites
- Verbally, electronically, or in writing, during any sales meeting with a beneficiary
What if I DO offer all plans in my area?
While the regulation does provide a carve-out for TPMO’s that truly offer all plans in their area, it is exceedingly rare for an agent to truly be able to do this. In most areas, there are one or more plans that are offered only through captive agents, direct to consumer, or certain types of plans that agents and brokers cannot sell. Even if you do offer all plans in one county or service area, it is possible your marketing or referrals may extend to an area where that is not true, so the disclaimer would still be required.
Disclaimer Language To Use:
“We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.”
Requirement to Record Sales Calls FAQs
What constitutes a sales call?
Any call that is related to what CMS calls the “chain of enrollment,” which has been defined as the events from a beneficiary becoming aware of an MA/PDP plan to the end of the enrollment process. This means that calling leads, scheduling appointments, collecting scopes of appointment (telephonically), presenting plans, collecting drug and doctor lists, and phone enrollments would all fall under this guidance. This list is not exhaustive, and other calls that contain marketing content will also need to be recorded and retained.
How can I record and store calls?
We recommend reaching out to your current phone provider to see if they offer call recording. If they do not, or it seems cost prohibitive, consider a VOIP phone system that can be used in the office or the field. Some common options are Ring Central, 8×8, and Vonage. For storage, you will need to develop a process for sorting and storing the calls either on a local drive or cloud-based storage. Since these calls contain sensitive data, most free storage accounts will not be HIPAA compliant. We are currently researching the best options for agents to compliantly store this data.
Recording Sales Calls:
Under these new guidelines, all sales calls with beneficiaries and TPMO’s MUST be recorded and retained for 10 years, including enrollment calls.
What about in person appointments?
In-person marketing and sales appointments do not need to be recorded, however, calls to set appointments or follow-up calls to answer benefit questions would require recording. Servicing questions about current plan business, such as claims, billing, and requesting in force plan documents, are not sales calls and would not require recording.
I use my cell phone. How can I handle this?
Most VOIP services have a mobile app version that would allow calls to be recorded from your mobile device. There are also recording apps that would allow for recording calls without VOIP. Be cautioned, however, as a stand-alone recording app will not include any disclaimers that may be required by your jurisdiction before recording, whereas most VOIP systems offer/include these options.
At Senior Marketing Specialists, we are hard at work researching and developing systems and processes to make this as easy as possible to implement in your business. We will be presenting more information and solutions as they arise. Please reach out with any questions to your team at Senior Marketing Specialists (800) 689-2800.
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