News Briefs: Reporting 3Q Earnings, UnitedHealth Group Saw Revenues Climb 12% From a Year Ago
As the Medicare Annual Election Period gets underway, CMS is warning Medicare Advantage organizations and Prescription Drug Plan sponsors that it will be closely monitoring marketing activities during and beyond the AEP, including through “secret shopping” activities. Given increasing concerns about the marketing practices of all entities, including third-party marketing organizations, CMS has engaged in secret shopping by calling numbers associated with television advertisements, mailings, newspaper ads and internet searches and discovered that some agents are not complying with current rules and are “unduly pressuring beneficiaries, as well as failing to provide accurate or enough information to assist a beneficiary in making an informed enrollment decision,” according to an Oct. 19 memo. However, starting Jan. 1, 2023, television advertisements will no longer qualify for CMS’s “File and Use” framework that allows materials submitted to be distributed five days after submission. Moreover, the agency will review all previously submitted television ads to confirm that materials meet CMS requirements and may take compliance action against plans that use “CMS-disapproved advertisements.” In addition, the agency during the AEP and into the new plan year will enhance its oversight of plan marketing in numerous ways, such as through enhanced review of select marketing materials submitted under File and Use criteria, targeted oversight of MAOs and Part D sponsors with higher or increasing rates of complaints during the AEP, and review of recordings of agent and broker calls with potential enrollees, CMS said.