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How can health insurance agents host Medicare-compliant educational events?

How can health insurance agents host Medicare-compliant educational events?

Are compliance concerns giving you the cold sweats? Are you avoiding one of the best tools in your belt, simply because you fear the CMS hammer?


While compliance should always be at the forefront, hosting a compliant educational event has just a few reasonable bars to clear before you can get in front of beneficiaries. We’ll help you get started:

What are agents allowed to do at a Medicare event?

Let’s focus on the positive. There are lots of ways to build your relationships with prospects and customers while staying on the right side of the regulations.

  • Educate, educate, educate: You’re welcome to teach consumers about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug, or other Medicare programs. Many carriers have CMS-approved presentations you can use—script often included. So long as you keep your personal opinions to yourself, finding things to talk about compliantly is easy.

  • Share Business Reply Cards or other permission to contact cards. Easier still, just sprinkle business cards like confetti. Or, at least put them on a table.

  • Answer each question that’s asked, and keep your answer within the scope of the question. Medicare is confusing, and people need clarification. Just don’t get on your soapbox!

  • Offer snacks, light refreshments, or gifts, so long as they’re below the $15 nominal value requirement. That could be bottles of water, a few snacks, and a homemade dessert if you know a baker! Absolutely no one can refuse a slice of pie, right?

  • Offer promotional items that don’t include any benefit information. The giveaways also have to meet nominal value requirements. But, they can display plan names, logos, toll-free numbers, and/or websites.

  • Display banners with plan names or logos, but again, these can’t include specific benefit information.

Also, know that these events have to be held in public places, and they must be advertised as educational. Advertising them as such can only help – if you make it clear that there are no sign-in sheets and no sales pitches, your target audience will be more comfortable. Once you have a few under your belt – collect and share some testimonials to reinforce the idea that these events are truly educational.

What’s not allowed at Medicare educational events?

We’ll make it quick. There are some things you absolutely cannot do at an educational event. As long as you’re not doing these things, you’ll set yourself up for success:

  • You cannot have mandatory sign-ups or sign-in sheets
  • You cannot schedule future appointments at these events
  • You cannot collect Scope of Appointment forms
  • You cannot distribute or talk about plan-specific premiums or benefits – not even mentioning $0 premiums
  • You cannot distribute plan-specific materials, especially and including enrollment kits
  • You cannot talk about specific plans offered – stay generic and concept-based
  • You cannot say that Medicare Advantage plans have perks or benefits – under new(ish) rules, you can’t even state that these plans have dental, hearing, or vision benefits
  • You cannot hold educational events in your home or a one-on-one setting
  • You cannot hold a marketing (or sales) event within 12 hours of an educational event at the same location

I can’t talk product? What’s the point?

People buy from those they know, like, and trust. Positioning yourself as a Medicare expert builds credibility with your prospects – and everyone they talk to. When you lean into providing folks with clarity and education (and your contact information), they’ll reach out when they’re ready.

They won’t choose another agent if they’re comfortable with you.

But, remember to give them a way to do so. If you’re collecting and documenting Business Reply Cards, you’re welcome to reach out to your event attendees. If you want to make compliance even simpler, just share business cards and ask them to reach out when they’re ready to schedule an appointment.

Get out there!

There you have it. When you play by these rules, you’re delivering a great experience for prospects and customers alike. And that makes educational events a valuable part of your toolkit.

 Wondering how you’ll draw people in the first place? Build your referral network, or start grassroots marketing.


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