January 5, 2023
In a recent op-ed for MedCity News, ACHP Associate Vice President of Public Policy Michael Bagel laid out how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can rein in misleading marketing practices in the Medicare Advantage market.
Marketers know that adults 65+ spend about a third of their waking day, almost six hours, watching broadcast TV. During Medicare’s open enrollment season in the fall, they aired commercial after commercial soliciting seniors to “find out about” their Medicare benefits by calling toll-free numbers. But the seniors didn’t even have to place that call, because these same agents, brokers and other lead generators kept their phones ringing off the hook with robocalls and offers of “free” services about Medicare plan options.
And if the seniors could avoid the calls, they found their mailboxes filled with unclear and deceptive marketing material, flyers, packets and other advertisements for Medicare benefit options. As the tactics became more aggressive and frequent, so did the associated complaints.
Unfortunately, too much of today’s Medicare Advantage marketing is inappropriate, confusing, misleading or inaccurate, misrepresenting the choices available in a program that works well for more than 28 million Americans. With its high-quality and affordable offerings, Medicare Advantage has grown to become the predominant choice of America’s seniors. Every day more than 10,000 new people age into the Medicare program – prime targets for third-party marketing organizations, agents/brokers and field marketing organizations who are tripping over themselves to cash in on this market.