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best practices for medicare sales and educational events
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Best Practices for Hosting a Medicare Sales or Educational Event

 

If you’re looking to grow your Medicare Client base then you will eventually want to consider hosting a Medicare Sales Event or an Educational Event. 

Before you go rushing out and scheduling an event there are some important things to consider to ensure a successful, compliant event, that will benefit both you and your attendees. 

With Covid still hanging around there may be local restrictions on having an in person event. You should ask your local health authorities what type of restrictions may apply before scheduling an in person event. 

As a result of the restrictions, some carriers have opted to not allow in-person events. This means that many agents will be opting to hold a virtual event over an in person event. 

Be sure to check with your carriers to verify what your options are, and to understand any rules they may have for giving a compliant virtual event. 

Quote Patrick Dixon

What Type of Medicare Event Will You Hold?

In general there are 2 types of Medicare Events you can hold, Educational Events and Sales Events.

The educational event is meant for you to share information, and answer any questions your prospects or their care-givers may have.

An educational event is not intended for sales activities like distributing plan specific marketing materials or collecting applications. That’s what a sales event is for.

Let’s look at each event individually so we can better understand why you would choose one over the other and how to go about conducting a successful event.

Quote Eugene Schwartz-1

Medicare Educational Event

A Medicare Educational Event gives agents an opportunity to get in front of prospects and their caregivers who are looking to learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Part D and other Medicare related programs.

You would want to choose an educational event if you wanted to share information, build your brand, and answer any questions your prospects might have. 

An educational event is not intended for sales activities like distributing plan specific marketing materials or collecting applications. You’re not trying to steer people toward any product with an educational event.

Nevertheless, you are allowed to hand out generic marketing material, business, cards, etc. You are also allowed to complete Scope of Appointment (SOA) forms for future appointments and collect them during an educational event.

You may or may not need to register your educational event with your carrier. Contact your upline or carrier rep to find out what specific requirements they may have.

How to Promote Your Medicare Educational Event

There aren't too many limitations when it comes to advertising your educational event. You can advertise in newspapers, magazines, flyers, social media, and just about any other channel you feel is relevant.

Of course, CMS Guidelines continue to change, so be sure to double check CMS MCMG Sections 50.1 & 50.2 for information on events.

Here are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Your marketing materials must clearly label your event as “Educational”.
  • Your marketing materials must also contain the disclaimer: “For accommodations of persons with special needs at meetings call <phone number and TTY number>”.
Quote Gerald Myers-1

Medicare Educational Event Compliance Check List  

You May 

  • Give away promotional items that include agent contact info.
  • Use sign-in sheets that clearly indicate providing contact information is optional.
  • Provide meals or refreshments with light snacks. (Max $15 combined nominal retail value, when combined with any other gift, must not exceed $15 on a per person basis.)
  • Invite a provider to speak at the event.
  • Collect lead cards and business reply cards.
  • Hand out your business card.
  • Call attendees after the event has concluded, as long as they give you written permission at the event.
  • Obtain compliant permission to contact that is method-specific and event-specific.
  • Ask attendees to fill out an SOA form for future appointments, if the request is initiated by the consumer.
      

You May Not 

  • Discuss specific carrier plans/products/benefits.
  • Distribute plan materials.
  • Provide or collect enrollment forms.
  • Discuss or cross-sell non-health care related products. (e.g., annuities, life insurance)
  • Use contact information provided by attendees for any other purpose.
  • Give away cash, gift cards or other monetary rebates.
  • Respond beyond a specific question a consumer asks.

Medicare Sales Event

There are 2 different types of Medicare Sales Events: Formal and Informal. Let’s start by defining the 2 types.

  • Formal Sales Event: In this type of sales event an agent can present a carrier specific presentation to invited attendees.

  • Informal Sales Event: In this type of sales event an agent would offer plan specific information only by request while at a table, booth, kiosk, or RV.

For both types of sales events agents will need to submit their presentation or talking points for approval to CMS and the applicable carriers.

Additionally, some carriers may have decided to cancel in-person seminars all together. You will need to contact your carrier for specific information as long as the Covid restrictions are in place.

Quote Fred Miller-1

How to Promote Your Medicare Sales Event 

CMS Guidelines continue to change, so be sure to double check CMS MCMG Sections 50.1 & 50.2 for information on events. 

  • You cannot require potential prospects to fill out contact information to RSVP to your sales event.
  • Your marketing materials must also contain the disclaimer: “For accommodations of persons with special needs at meetings call <phone number and TTY number>". 

As always, consult your carriers’ guidelines to ensure you remain compliant.

Preparing for a Successful Medicare Sales Event 

Different carriers have different policies concerning registering an event. In most cases they will require you to fill out a form detailing your event.

You will normally be required to submit the registration the month prior to the event, so make sure you understand the timeline of the requirements before setting an event date.
 

Most carriers have a specific presentation to use for your sales event as well as signage, flyers, forms, etc. Agents should work with their FMO and their local field rep for the carrier in question to get everything in order before your event. 

At your event, you are allowed to show a Medicare Beneficiary anything on a carriers website, but avoid digging into the specifics. You could utilize a Scope of Appointment (SOA) to collect information compliantly, and make an appointment to discuss at a later time.

In some cases, a local rep may be able to assist you at your event in some way. They may be able to help hand out materials, or even speak to your audience about a specific product. 

Whether it’s a carrier rep or another licensed agent, it would be useful to find another set of hands to help out with your event. Just keep in mind, Licensed individuals cannot assist with marketing or communication activities, including collecting marketing or communication materials.

Quote Ryan McLean-1

Medicare Sales Event Compliance Check List 

You May 

  • Name all plan types you’ll be discussing up front.
  • Let beneficiaries approach you first at all events.
  • Use only carrier- and CMS-approved presentations and talking points.
  • Give away promotional items that include plan name, logo, toll-free number, and/or carrier website.
  • Use sign-in sheets that clearly indicate providing contact information is optional.
  • Provide refreshments or light snacks. (Max $15 combined nominal retail value, when combined with any other gift, must not exceed $15 on a per person basis.)
  • Distribute Star Ratings information, Summary of Benefits, Pre-Enrollment Checklist, and the Multi-Language Insert with any enrollment form.
  • Invite a provider to speak at the event.
  • Collect lead cards and business reply cards.
  • Hand out your business card.
  • Arrange follow-up appointments.
  • Collect enrollment applications as long as the enrollee has a valid election.
  • Call attendees who attended your sales event as long as they gave you written permission at the event.

You May Not 

  • Compare one carrier’s plan to other by name without first getting written consent from all carriers involved in the comparison or without having careful studies or statistical data to back up comparisons.
  • Provide meals for attendees.
  • Discuss or cross-sell non-health care related products (e.g., annuities, life insurance)
  • Use contact information provided by attendees for any other purpose.
  • Give away cash, gift cards or other monetary rebates.
  • Require attendees to fill out a Scope of Appointment forms, enrollment forms, or sign-in sheets.

Where Will You Hold Your Event?

For starters, your event must be held in a public setting where individuals do not receive health care services.

This is not just relegated to hospitals. It may include Expos, Health Fairs or similar events.

I think it goes without saying that having potential clients in your own home for marketing purposes is not allowed. 

There are many event location options available to you. You should begin by thinking of a venue that is convenient to your attendees.

These are just a few examples that may be convenient:

  • Community Centers
  • Senior Centers
  • Country Clubs
  • Restaurant
  • Libraries 

Remember to consider all aspects of the venue: 

  • Will there be noise in or around the building?
  • Do you have electricity available to you where it is needed?
  • Will you have WIFI available?
  • Is there appropriate parking?
  • How long of a walk is it from the parking lot to the venue?
  • Are there tables and chairs available?
  • Is the building ADA compliant?
Carl Buechner

What if You Have to Cancel Your Event?

First, you should avoid canceling an event at all costs, but we know some things may be out of your control.  

If you have to cancel an event, there are best practices you should be aware of.  

You should strive to give your attendees at least 48 hours notice of the cancellation.  

Along with the following best practices, you should follow up with your carriers as they may have specific requirements regarding event cancelation.  

If you can provide at least 48 hours notice of cancelation:  

Notify your carrier(s) and your upline as early as possible. 

Notify the venue. Some venues may have specific cancellation policies. (Ask about those policies when you book your event.) 

Contact your attendees in the same way you contacted them initially, if possible, to let them know of the cancelation. If you can’t do so, your carriers may require an explanation of why you could not do that.  

If you cannot provide at least 48 hours notice of cancellation:  

Notify your carrier(s) and your upline as early as possible. 

Notify the venue. Some venues may have specific cancellation policies. (Ask about those policies when you book your event.) 

Be present or have a rep present at the venue at the original event start time, and provide relevant plan information. You or your rep must remain their until at least 30 min. after the original start time.  

Remember, both CMS and your Carriers will sometimes send out “secret shoppers” to your event, to see if you are in compliance with Medicare regulations.  

As long as you plan it properly and review the regulations involved, you should have no problems.  

There are a lot of things to consider when holding a Medicare event, but don’t let that scare you away from them.  

They can be of great benefit to agents and attendees alike when done properly.  

Try to focus on simply being a helpful resource for your attendees. If you approach it with that intent and prepare with an understanding of what is needed to remain compliant, then you will benefit from the event.  

If you have any questions concerning holding an event, feel free to contact us for more information.

 

Anonymous

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