The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), finalized new rules related to Medicare programs, which include new restrictions on the marketing of Medicare plans. You can view the Federal Registrar notice announcing the new regulations here. Here are some key changes to the rules relating to marketing of Medicare Advantage and Part D programs.
- Marketers are now prohibited from using the Medicare name, the CMS logo, and any products or information issued by the federal government in a manner that is "misleading." The use of an image of the Medicare card, however, requires prior authorization from CMS.
- The new rules also prohibit the use of superlatives, for example, words like "best" or "most" – unless the data source is also referenced in the material and it is from the current or prior year.
- Marketers are also prohibited from advertising benefits that are not available to beneficiaries in the service areas where the marketing appears, unless the advertising runs in local media where the benefits are available and "reaching beneficiaries who reside in other service areas is unavoidable."
- The new rules also require marketers, when advertising plans, to give the specific plan name or the organization offering the plan. There are also rules for printing and reading the plan names in a television or radio advertisement.
- The new rules also prohibit marketing that promotes the savings available to potential enrollees that are based on a comparison of the typical expenses borne by uninsured individuals.
- Marketers are supposed to specifically tell members the consequences on their current plan of enrolling in the plan(s) being offered.
“CTPF welcomes these changes for our members enrolled in Medicare,” said Jenn Pentangelo, Director of Benefits. “We know that aggressive marketing has been a challenge for our members. We recommend that members continue to be wary and avoid unsolicited marketing calls. We are hopeful that these new rules will help our members avoid costly mistakes.”
The rules related to advertising and marketing go into effect on September 30, 2023, and are applicable to the promotion of 2024 plans