- Educational and Sales Events:
CMS has removed the prohibition that sales events cannot immediately follow educational events. This should provide greater flexibility in planning events and increasing attendance. Agents can now hold an educational meeting at a hotel meeting room at 9AM immediately followed by a sales event at 10AM. The two events must be kept distinctly separate (i.e. don't start the sales event prior to the scheduled 10AM meeting time or incorporate any sales information into the 9AM educational meeting) - but starting October 1, they can be scheduled back to back. For more information about educational vs. sales events, please see our updated At a Glance - Educational, Marketing, & Sales Events Guidance Document.
- Permission to Contact:
- If someone gives you permission to contact them during AEP, you have through AEP (December 7) to reach out.
CMS has removed regulatory language which restricted permissions to contact to be event specific. This now gives agents more flexibility after receiving properly documented permission to contact within a reasonable timeframe. Some examples of what would be reasonable:
- If someone gives you permission to contact them any other time of the year - similar to the AEP timeframe - we suggest a reasonable contact period is an additional two (2) months.
NOTE: There are numerous federal and state laws surrounding making marketing calls to people who have not provided permission to contact (e.g. the Do Not Call Registry, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)). For questions about making marketing calls outside of your client list or to others who have expressly given permission to contact, please reach out to us at: [email protected].
- Compliance Tools and Reminders:
1) Updated 2020 Do's and Dont's Agent Summary: This is a simple yet comprehensive summary of CMS rules that every agent needs to know to conduct their business compliantly. Here are some of the important topics covered:
a. Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
b. Educational and sales events
c. Marketing in a healthcare setting (provider offices)
d. Star ratings
PRO TIP: Save this Do's and Dont's Agent Summary locally so you can open it up electronically and perform a word search to find a quick answer.
2) Guidance on Educational Events, Sales Events, and 1-on-1 Appointments: At a Glance - Educational, Marketing, & Sales Events Guidance is an essential document which helps keep agents compliant when conducting any of these events.
3) Marketing Material Compliance Review: CMS has many requirements on all marketing materials used to advertise to Medicare beneficiaries. Any materials currently being used - postcards, letters, flyers, newspaper ads, internet ads, etc. - must be submitted for review and approval. This includes:
a. Older/previously approved materials - which you may have used for the past 5 years - as you know CMS updates their rules all the time, so we want to ensure we provide a compliance review.
b. Marketing materials which don't name Carefree or any carriers - these materials can sometimes be so vague that the ambiguity of who is sending it out or what is being advertised may cause issues with regulators.
c. Custom made marketing materials. While we strongly encourage using marketing materials created by carriers, in some instances a custom piece is necessary and must be reviewed.