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November 21, 2023
What are the marketing rules for Medicare plans?

As Fall Open Enrollment begins, it is normal to get mail from different insurance companies about the plans that they offer. You can use this marketing information to help you compare your options.  

A plan must follow certain rules when marketing their plans, though. These guidelines are made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect beneficiaries from manipulative sales and enrollment tactics. Most guidelines primarily focus on acts and materials related to agents, brokers, and direct plan communication, rather than television and radio commercials or advertising. A fundamental principle of these guidelines is that marketing cannot be conducted under the guise of education.  

Under these guidelines, a plan cannot:  

  • Use language that suggests their plan is preferred by Medicare 
  • Represent itself as coming from or sent by Medicare, Social Security, or Medicaid 
  • Call or text you if you did not ask them to do so 
  • Leave information (such as leaflets, flyers, door hangers, etc.) on your car or at your home if they come from a company that did not have an appointment with you 
  • Provide information that is inaccurate or misleading 
  • Require attendees to provide contact information as a prerequisite for attending a marketing event 
  • Call marketing event attendees later without permission 
  • Call prospective enrollees to confirm receipt of mailed information 
  • Approach beneficiaries in public common areas, such as parking lots, hallways, lobbies, or sidewalks 

If you believe a company has violated Medicare marketing rules or is using manipulative sales tactics, you can call your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) to report the incident. SMPs empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect and report health care fraud, errors, and abuse.  

If you are thinking about changing your plan this fall, know that you do not have to make the decision right away. You should take your time to review your choices and make an informed decision, and you should be cautious of anyone making you feel rushed or pressured to make a decision. You can consult with a representative from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for individualized counseling around these decisions, and you may also consult with 1-800-MEDICARE to compare Medicare Advantage or Part D plans offered in your area. 


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Posted August 30, 2021 by at United States in Medicare
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