Medicare Educational Events Compliance Roadmap: Best Practices
March 12, 2024

The idea of hosting an educational Medicare event intimidated me for a long time thanks to compliance. I worried about unintentionally breaking a rule and getting into some red tape, so I just avoided them.

But now, educational events are one of the main ways I grow my book of business, next to referrals.

And yes, I am living proof that you can turn attendees into clients while staying compliant the whole time.

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What Is an Educational Medicare Event?

Hosting educational Medicare events was a natural fit for me because my approach has always been education-first.

An educational Medicare event is designed to teach beneficiaries about Medicare. You can cover everything from Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans to other Medicare programs.

The key to keeping it educational is keeping your personal opinions to yourself. You’re not trying to steer potential enrollees toward any specific plan or path.

I simply focus on informing and educating. Here’s what Medicare is, this is what the parts are, this is when you can enroll, and these are the general choices you have.

Interested in a sales event? Check out these articles next: 10 Medicare Sales Event Tips for a Smooth, Compliant Seminar and How to Hold a Medicare Advantage Sales Seminar

What’s Allowed at an Educational Event?

So much of Medicare compliance is focused on what you can’t do, and I’ll get to that.

But first, I like to focus on the positive. Here are all the things you can do:

  • Educate consumers about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug, or other Medicare Programs: I created a Medicare 101 presentation that I go through. It also has some helpful information on Social Security and retirement planning.

medicare presentation

  • Make available and collect permission to contact forms, such as Business Reply Cards (BRCs), for attendees to request contact from you: I haven’t personally done this since business cards have worked just fine so far.
  • Hand out business cards or your contact information: I have a pile of my business cards on a table.
  • Answer questions your attendees ask, as long as your answer doesn’t go beyond the scope of the question: I get a lot of positive feedback that people enjoy how interactive and casual the event is. They are free to interrupt me to ask questions and get clarification.
  • Offer meals, snacks, light refreshments, or gifts (as long as they meet the $15 nominal value requirement): for me, this looks like bottles of water, a few snacks, and some kind of dessert my wife makes.

snacks at seminars

  • Offer promotional items as long as they’re of nominal value and don’t include benefit info. They can display the plan name, logo, toll-free number, and/or website.
  • Display a banner with the plan name and/or logo (as long as it doesn’t include any specific product information).

Also, educational events must be held in a public venue, and they must be advertised as educational.

I find that labeling and advertising the event as educational helps people feel more comfortable. We make it clear there are no sign-in sheets and no sales pitches.

I collect testimonials from people who have gone to the event to reiterate that it truly is educational-only and there is no reason to put your guard up for it.

Get more tips from my many years of doing these workshops here: 15 Tips for Hosting an Educational Medicare Seminar

What’s Against the Rules at Educational Events?

Now that we’ve covered what’s allowed, you can probably guess all of the things that are against the rules.

Here’s a quick list of things you can’t do at an educational event:

  • Cannot schedule future appointments (where you plan to sell plans/products)
  • Cannot collect Scope of Appointment forms
  • Cannot distribute or talk about plan-specific premiums or benefits
  • Cannot distribute plan specific materials, including enrollment forms
  • Cannot have mandatory sign-up or sign-in sheets
  • Cannot talk about specific plans offered – everything needs to be generic and concept-based, not specific to currently available plans
  • Cannot say that MA plans have perks or benefits; you can’t even make a general statement that MA plans offer dental, hearing, or vision benefits
  • Cannot hold it in your home or in a one-on-one setting
  • Cannot hold a sales event within 12 hours of an educational event in the same location

How to Turn an Educational Event into an Opportunity

Educational events have been a great way to get my name out there and position myself as a source of knowledge in my area.

SH-Sams-Ranch-February-2024-facebook (1)A graphic I use for promoting the educational event on Facebook and my website

I can’t sell anything or collect any applications at the event, but I wouldn’t want to. I really enjoy providing everyone with the clarity and the education, and they have my contact information to reach out to me when they’re ready.

And they do!

The majority of the time, I hear back from event attendees that are excited to meet with me one-on-one afterwards. I’ve just made Medicare clear for them and they need help.

Why would they choose another agent in town when they are now comfortable with and trust me?

The key to turning an educational event into a steady stream of clients is collecting BRCs or handing out business cards at the event. For me, keeping it simple with business cards has worked perfectly.

Remember that you cannot call attendees of an educational event unless they have given permission to be contacted, and the permission is supposed to be documented.

But I just avoid that altogether by having them reach out to me when they’re ready to schedule an appointment at my office.

Recent Compliance Changes to Educational Events

As you know, compliance is changing constantly – every year, a few things get adjusted and we have to rethink our plans.

Here’s a quick look at recent changes.

  • Cannot make SOAs available anymore
  • Cannot collect SOAs anymore
  • Cannot set up future personal marketing appointments at the event anymore

While that does make it harder to follow-up with attendees, remember that you can make available and collect BRCs.

CMS states that it will interpret using BRCs at educational events like it permits plan materials to be located in common areas of a provider’s office.

Educational Event Compliance FAQs  

I got a little back-up from our marketing team here to answer a few commonly asked questions about educational events.

If you have other questions, please drop them in the comments and they will step in to help.

Is it true that sales events may not immediately follow educational events anymore?

Yes, sales events may no longer immediately follow educational events if they are in the same location. A sales event may not follow an educational event in the same location within twelve (12) hours. “Same location” is defined as the entire building or adjacent buildings. However, an agent may immediately conduct a sales event following an educational event as long as it is not in the same location.

Alternatively, an agent may conduct a sales event in the same location following an educational event as long as twelve (12) hours have passed.

Can an agent hold a personal marketing appointment at the same location within forty-eight (48) hours of an educational event if they already had a signed SOA and pre-booked a meeting room for the personal marketing appointment?

No, the agent would either have to change the location of either the educational event or the personal marketing appointment or schedule the personal marketing appointment outside twelve (12) hours of the educational event.

Does a Medicare 101 presentation that states that Original Medicare doesn’t include routine vision, hearing, or dental benefits now include marketing content?

Medicare 101 presentations are given at educational events with beneficiaries. Educational events must be designed to generally inform beneficiaries about Medicare, including Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug programs, or any other Medicare program.

Accordingly, agents and brokers can inform beneficiaries about Original Medicare. This could include general explanations about what Parts A and B cover and don’t cover. This could also likely include a statement that Parts A and B do not cover routine vision, dental, or hearing benefits, as many beneficiaries may believe that these are covered Original Medicare benefits.

However, agents and brokers may not market “specific MA [or PDP] plans or benefits” and may not conduct sales or marketing presentations in an educational event. Agents and brokers should therefore be mindful not to make any statements about any MA benefits, including a general statement that MA plans offer dental, hearing, or vision benefits.

Agents and brokers should also be mindful not to make the statement that Original Medicare does not cover routine vision, dental, or hearing benefits in a way that is intended to convey that MA plans do cover those benefits, as CMS could find that the statement meets the content and intent standard to constitute “marketing.”


There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of when it comes to educational events.

I personally get help with running local Facebook ads, but at this time, I’ve been able to fill up the room without spending any money. People who have gone to the event find it so helpful that they tell their friends.

If you’ve been wanting to host an educational workshop or seminar to teach about Medicare, I highly suggest you give it a try. With the compliance roadmap above, you’ll be good to go.

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