42 CFR § 422.2264 - Beneficiary contact.

§ 422.2264 Beneficiary contact.

For the purpose of this section, beneficiary contact means any outreach activities to a beneficiary or a beneficiary's caregivers by the MA organization or its agents and brokers.

(a) Unsolicited contact. Subject to the rules for contact for plan business in paragraph (b) of this section, the following rules apply when materials or activities are given or supplied to a beneficiary or their caregiver without prior request:

(1) MA organizations may make unsolicited direct contact by conventional mail and other print media (for example, advertisements and direct mail) or email (provided every email contains an opt-out option).

(2) MA organizations may not do any of the following if unsolicited:

(i) Use door to door solicitation, including leaving information of any kind, except that information may be left when an appointment is pre-scheduled but the beneficiary is not home.

(ii) Approach enrollees in common areas such as parking lots, hallways, and lobbies.

(iii) Send direct messages from social media platforms.

(iv) Use telephone solicitation (that is, cold calling), robocalls, text messages, or voicemail messages, including, but not limited to, the following:

(A) Calls based on referrals.

(B) Calls to former enrollees who have disenrolled or those in the process of disenrolling, except to conduct disenrollment surveys for quality improvement purposes.

(C) Calls to beneficiaries who attended a sales event, unless the beneficiary gave express permission to be contacted.

(D) Calls to prospective enrollees to confirm receipt of mailed information.

(3) Calls are not considered unsolicited if the beneficiary provides consent or initiates contact with the plan. For example, returning phone calls or calling an individual who has completed a business reply card requesting contact is not considered unsolicited.

(b) Contact for plan business. MA organizations may contact current, and to a more limited extent, former members, including those enrolled in other products offered by the parent organization, to discuss plan business, in accordance with the following requirements:

(1) An MA organization may conduct the following activities as plan business:

(i) Call current enrollees, including those in non-Medicare products, to discuss Medicare products. Examples of such calls include, but are not limited to the following:

(A) Enrollees aging into Medicare from commercial products.

(B) Existing enrollees, including Medicaid enrollees, to discuss other Medicare products or plan benefits.

(C) Members in a Part D plan to discuss other Medicare products.

(ii) Call beneficiaries who submit enrollment applications to conduct business related to enrollment.

(iii) With prior CMS approval, call LIS enrollees that a plan is prospectively losing due to reassignment. CMS decisions to approve calls are for limited circumstances based on the following:

(A) The proximity of cost of the losing plan as compared to the national benchmark; and

(B) The selection of plans in the service area that are below the benchmark.

(iv) Agents/brokers calling clients who are enrolled in other products they may sell, such as automotive or home insurance.

(v) MA organizations may not make unsolicited calls about other lines of business as a means of generating leads for Medicare plans.

(2) When reaching out to a beneficiary regarding plan business, as outlined in this section, MA organizations must offer the beneficiary the ability to opt out of future calls regarding plan business.

(c) Events with beneficiaries. MA organizations and their agents or brokers may hold educational events, marketing or sales events, and personal marketing appointments to meet with Medicare beneficiaries, either face-to-face or virtually. The requirements for each type of event are as follows:

(1) Educational events must be advertised as such and be designed to generally inform beneficiaries about Medicare, including Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug programs, or any other Medicare program.

(i) At educational events, MA organizations and agents/brokers may not market specific MA plans or benefits.

(ii) MA organizations holding or participating in educational events may do any of the following:

(A) Distribute communications materials.

(B) Answer beneficiary-initiated questions pertaining to MA plans.

(C) Set up future personal marketing appointments.

(D) Distribute business cards.

(E) Obtain beneficiary contact information, including Scope of Appointment forms.

(iii) MA organizations holding or participating in educational events may not conduct sales or marketing presentations or distribute or accept plan applications.

(iv) MA organizations may schedule appointments with residents of long-term care facilities (for example, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care homes) upon a resident's request. If a resident did not request an appointment, any visit by an agent or broker is prohibited as unsolicited door-to-door marketing.

(2) Marketing or sales events are group events that fall within the definition of marketing at § 422.2260.

(i) If a marketing event directly follows an educational event, the beneficiary must be made aware of the change and given the opportunity to leave prior to the marketing event beginning.

(ii) MA organizations holding or participating in marketing events may do any of the following:

(A) Provide marketing materials.

(B) Distribute and accept plan applications.

(C) Collect Scope of Appointment forms for future personal marketing appointments.

(D) Conduct marketing presentations.

(iii) MA organizations holding or participating in marketing events may not do any of the following:

(A) Require sign-in sheets or require attendees to provide contact information as a prerequisite for attending an event.

(B) Conduct activities, including health screenings, health surveys, or other activities that are used for or could be viewed as being used to target a subset of members (that is, “cherry-picking”).

(C) Use information collected for raffles or drawings for any purpose other than raffles or drawings.

(3) Personal marketing appointments are those appointments that are tailored to an individual or small group (for example, a married couple). Personal marketing appointments are not defined by the location.

(i) Prior to the personal marketing appointment beginning, the MA plan (or agent or broker, as applicable) must agree upon and record the Scope of Appointment with the beneficiary(ies).

(ii) MA organizations holding a personal marketing appointment may do any of the following:

(A) Provide marketing materials.

(B) Distribute and accept plan applications.

(C) Conduct marketing presentations.

(D) Review the individual needs of the beneficiary including, but not limited to, health care needs and history, commonly used medications, and financial concerns.

(iii) MA organizations holding a personal marketing appointment may not do any of the following:

(A) Market any health care related product during a marketing appointment beyond the scope agreed upon by the beneficiary, and documented by the plan, prior to the appointment.

(B) Market additional health related lines of plan business not identified prior to an individual appointment without a separate Scope of Appointment identifying the additional lines of business to be discussed.

(C) Market non-health related products, such as annuities.

[86 FR 6106, Jan. 19, 2021]