Want to host a Medicare educational event or a Medicare sales event? It’s important to know that there are certain things you can and cannot say during these events!
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Just like how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have some strict rules on what you can and cannot say during Medicare sales appointments, they also have strict rules on what you can say at Medicare educational and sales events. You can find these rules in the Medicare Advantage & Part D Communication Requirements, but to help make understanding these rules easier, we’re going over the major language restrictions below!
Note: Please keep in mind that, in addition to the phrases listed below, while you’re hosting Medicare educational and sales events, you also cannot say the things we covered in our “What Agents Can’t Say During Medicare Sales Appointments” post. While we think that we provide a pretty good summary of what you can’t say during these events below, this post is not all-encompassing. For all rules on what you can and cannot say during Medicare educational and sales events, please read the full Medicare Advantage & Part D Communication Requirements from CMS.
During Educational Events on Medicare Choices
Here are some examples of phrases that you can’t say throughout educational events…
“You can sign in on the sheet of paper up front.”
There shouldn’t be a sign-in paper up front at this type of event. You cannot display a sign-in sheet or collect contact info from attendees at educational events.
“Here’s a paper with the premiums and copays of these plans.”
Educational events are to be strictly educational. During them, you can’t lead or attempt to lead attendees toward a specific plan or set of plans. You can’t hand out anything that lists premiums or copays at these events.
“Who wants an application?”
It’s also prohibited for you to hand out other Medicare marketing materials and applications at educational events.
During Sales Events for Medicare Plans
Here are some examples of phrases you can’t say throughout sales events…
“This event is strictly educational.”
If you haven’t registered and marketed the event as educational, it’s not an educational event. You shouldn’t attempt to mislead attendees, or prospective attendees, into thinking otherwise.
“Everyone must sign in on the sheet of paper up front.”
Unlike with educational events, you can have a sign-in sheet available for attendees to fill out at sales events; however, you cannot require attendees to sign in. Filling out the sheet must be optional.
“Meals and drinks are on me, tonight!”
You cannot offer or subsidize meals, or a combination of foods and beverages that could constitute a meal, at sales events.
“Let’s assess your health at the table up front.”
Health screenings or assessments could be used for “cherry picking,” and so they are also prohibited by CMS at sales events.
During Both Types of Events
Finally, here are some examples of phrases you can’t say throughout both educational and sales events…
“I’ll give whoever knows the answer to this question a $25 gift card.”
While it’s true that money talks, and many people like the chance to win a free gift card, these types of offers don’t help people make the best decisions for their Medicare coverage. CMS’ rules dictate that you cannot give away cash or other monetary rebates at educational or sales events.
“I need you to fill out one of these Scope of Appointment forms.”
Be careful. You cannot require attendees to fill out a Scope of Appointment form, whether you’re hosting an event or otherwise. They must decide themselves if they want to complete the form.
“You must fill out one of these enrollment forms.”
You also can’t require attendees to fill out an enrollment form at any time during these events or in general. The decision to enroll in a plan must be made by the attendee alone. Your role is to help guide them, not coerce them.
Important Note About Virtual Events
Now that CMS considers all insurance agents to be Third-Party Marketing Organizations (TPMOs), you must adhere to new rules for virtual educational and sales events.
If your Medicare event is taking place via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or another online video chat platform, make sure you record that meeting and state the following TPMO disclaimer if you’re marketing fewer than all plans available in a geographical location:
“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.”
We realize this is something you should say in an article about what you should not say, but if you do not state this disclaimer, there could be serious consequences! Our goal is to help you stay compliant.
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Some of these examples may have seemed silly, and like phrases you would never say, and if so, we’re glad! It means you have a good understanding of what’s appropriate to say during educational and sales events on Medicare. If not, don’t sweat it — that is why the guidelines have been established.
We hope this article helps you to not only understand the rules associated with these events, but also gives you the confidence to host them. Both educational and sales events can play a huge role in your Medicare sales strategies. Just remember these rules, and the other ones in the MA & Part D Communication Requirements regarding these events, and you’ll be set for success.
For more info on the other rules you must follow when hosting these types of events, check out our Rules for Hosting a Compliant Medicare Educational Event and Rules for Hosting a Compliant Medicare Sales Event posts, as well as the latest Medicare Advantage & Part D Communication Requirements.