Part D – Seniors are being misinformed

The Office of the Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, recently released a report on compliance by sellers of Medicare Advantage plans with federal laws and regulations governing deceptive marketing practices.  Executive summary:  Each of the six selected plan sponsors we reviewed did not follow at least one of the marketing regulations concerning sales agent compensation and qualifications.These marketing regulations are critical to protecting Medicare  beneficiaries because they address sales agents’ financial motivation and their qualifications to market Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.  Five of the selected plan sponsors in our review that employ independent sales agents had compensation practices that resulted in inappropriate financial incentives for sales agents and field marketing organizations (FMO). FMOs typically provide sales agents with enrollment leads and marketing assistance.In addition, five of the six selected plan sponsors did not ensure that all of their sales agents were qualified under CMS’s regulations. We also found that the number and types of beneficiaries’ complaints remained unchanged after implementation of sales agent marketing regulations.