Last week, CMS published the Revised Draft 2018 Medicare Marketing Guidelines and requested feedback from all interested parties.
The draft includes many small changes to the Marketing Guidelines, including but not limited to those in the following areas:
- Multi-language inserts – CMS wants to defer to the more robust requirements established by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act
- Non-English Language Disclaimer – Plan Sponsors will be required to include the non-English language disclaimer on ANOC/EOC, LIS Rider, Comprehensive or Abridged Formulary, Star Ratings, Summary of Benefits, Part D Transition Letters.
- Use of Star Ratings – The draft includes multiple changes relating to how and when a Plan Sponsor can use its Star Ratings, including that CMS will provide a Gold Star icon each fall to 5 Star Plans that the Plans can use on their marketing material. Plans may not create their own gold star icon.
- Unsolicited Electronic Communication – Plan Sponsors will be required to include an opt-out process for enrollees and the draft instructs Plan Sponsors that an individual “liking” the Plan’s social media page does not constitute the individual agreeing to receive communications from the Plan Sponsor outside of the social media forum.
- Provider Affiliation Announcements – Plan Sponsors and providers will be allowed to announce new or continuing affiliations only once an agreement between the parties has been approved and the draft clarifies that such announcements that describe plan benefits, premiums, or cost sharing are marketing materials and must be submitted to HPMS, and that the Plan Sponsor is responsible for ensuring that providers comply with the MMG distribution and mailing guidance for Provider-Based Activities.
- Review of Materials in the Marketplace – Plan Sponsors are reminded that they must report to CMS all self-identified errors in all marketing materials.
- Third-Party Websites – This is a new section, at 100.7. The draft requires Plan Sponsors to submit third-party marketing websites to HPMS, even if there is no benefit information included on the third-party website. CMS recognizes that website owners may work with multiple Plan Sponsors and recommends that the Plan Sponsors coordinate the multi-plan submission. The section also lists activities that third-party websites are prohibited from doing.
CMS explains that it is interested in comments on all sections and changes, but is particularly interested in comments regarding changes to provider-affiliation announcements and the newly added section regarding third-party websites. Comments on the draft are due to CMS by 5:00pm (ET) Friday, February 3, 2017 and may be submitted through CMS’s survey site.