September 06, 2022

After Crackdown, Medicare Advantage Marketers Tone Down Sales Tactics

Medicare Advantage plans are being forced to tone down their aggressive advertising this year in response to increased oversight from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The new guidelines were prompted by an increase in consumer complaints, which swelled by 165 percent between 2020 and 2021, with a total of 41,136 filed last year.

An investigation into Medicare Advantage sales tactics also spurred the agency’s decision to tighten regulations, yielding some complaints alleging fraudulent practices. Sales call recordings suggested that callers were often confused about the product and who they were talking to, with some even thinking they were speaking to government representatives.

Medicare Advantage regulations are becoming increasingly relevant, as a new analysis shows that nearly half of those who are eligible for Medicare are enrolled in Advantage plans. Marketing efforts become particularly frenzied during the annual enrollment period for Medicare, which will go from October 15 to December 7 this year.

“Older Americans are deluged with health information, and it seems clear that some Medicare Advantage marketers crossed the line,” said Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta. “We encourage all retirees who are considering changing their coverage to get information from a trusted source, such as their union or the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), not just from television or radio commercials.”

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