Medicare sales events are a fantastic way to educate a group of individuals about a Medicare Advantage plan. You can enroll multiple people in the same plan at one time. That's a huge time saver, especially if you have a lot of clients to see during AEP.
That said, you do need to know the compliance guidelines. But once you understand them? You'll be ready to enjoy all the perks of hosting your own sales event.
And it's really not a big deal – don't let the idea of compliance guidelines stop you from doing a sales event this year!
What's a Sales Event?
A sales event, or marketing event as they are sometimes called, is an event where all allowable types of marketing activities can occur. It's designed to steer, or attempt to steer, potential enrollees toward a plan or a limited set of plans.
Agents may educate beneficiaries just like at an educational event, but they can also market specific plans and discuss plan specific benefits, along with other compliant marketing activities.
Keep in mind, there are two different types of sales events:
- Formal Sales Events are a more structured event using an audience/presenter type format.
- Informal Sales Events utilize a less structured format; for example, a table, kiosk, etc. that is staffed by a sales representative where consumers must initiate the conversations.
- The actual law about event rules - 42 CFR Part 422, subpart V and 42 CFR Part 423, subpart V (you can do a search for "Events with beneficiaries" to jump to that section
- 2024 Agent Compliance Guide
1. You don't need Scopes of Appointments for attendees.
I thought we'd start off with something you don't have to worry about – scope of appointment forms, or SOAs.
When hosting a Medicare sales event, you are not required to collect SOAs for the attendees because they are not personal/individual appointments.
2. Host the sales event at a public venue.
You'll need to pick a venue for your sales event.
Sales events must be hosted at a public venue, such as a senior center, your local library, at a retirement community, or a conference room in a hotel.
You can hold sales events in a healthcare setting, but it has to be in a common area, like an entryway, hospital cafeteria, conference room, or waiting area.
You can't hold sales events in restricted areas where care, treatment or provider interaction occurs, such as exam rooms, hospital patient rooms, and pharmacy counter areas.
3. Keep gifts under $15.
If you want to provide any snacks or promotional items for attendees, make sure the value doesn't exceed the "Nominal Gift" limit of $15.
Keep it to a bottle of water and a cookie!
4. Don't require contact information.
You can have a sign-in sheet at your sales event, but it has to be optional. You cannot require attendees to provide contact information.
5. Report your event to the carriers you're representing.
When you have everything planned out, you'll need to report your sales event to each applicable carrier you're representing. Those carriers will file your event with CMS.
Every carrier has their own process for this as well as timeframe requirements, though 21 days in advance of your event is a safe bet. We'll outline the process for some of our biggest carriers, but you can always reach out to us for help if you don't see the carrier you want to talk about.
It's a good idea to start planning out your sales events for AEP as early as August to make sure you're all set by October.
- Fill out the Seminar Reporting Template (contact your local Rep for the Template)
- Where you send it depends if you are licensed within an Aetna/Coventry local market or not.
- Licensed agents within an Aetna or Coventry local market submit their seminar events directly to their market representative. The local market then submits the events to Agent Oversight.
- Licensed agents not licensed within an Aetna or Coventry local market submit the spreadsheet directly to Agent Oversight’s MedicareSemi@aetna.com mailbox.
- Log into the Anthem Medicare Certification Training Center https://anthem.cmpsystem.com/
- Click on “Sales Event Tracker”
- Click on “Create Event”
- Fill out the Event, Venue, and Marketing Information boxes
- Click “Submit Event” to submit it to Anthem or “Save Event” to save it for future submission
- Agents/Brokers use the Sales Event Log Template to document marketing/sales event information
- Contact your Cigna Medicare Broker Sale Representative (BSR) for the form
- Upon completion, email the Sales Event Log Template to Cigna Medicare Broker Sale Representative (BSR) at least ten (10) days prior to date of the event
- If utilizing a Cigna Formal Sales Presentation, complete a Sales Event Form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org (remember only use this if a Cigna Formal Sales Presentation is being used)
- Also, if using a Cigna Formal Sales Presentation, you need to complete the Sales Event Training Attestation module before conducting an event.
- Fill in the needed information on their Excel Spreadsheet (contact us for the Excel Template)
- Email the completed spreadsheet to the local MSS (Market Support Staff) in your area
- The Market Support Staff enters the seminar information into their reporting system and will send back a schedule confirmation (Allow 2 weeks’ notice during Rest of Year and 3 weeks during AEP)
- Before scheduling and reporting a Sales Event, you must complete and pass the Events Basics module for the applicable plan year
- Download the NEW Event Request Form from Jarvis
- It is located under Sales & Marketing Tools Sales > Materials. Scroll to the bottom of the page under Compliance Documents. The first tab is events, under that you will see the NEW Event Request form along with other helpful resources.
- Complete the Tab/Worksheet titled “New Events”
- After you have entered your event information, you can submit your form by doubleclicking the “Validate and Submit” button at the top of the page.
- NOTE: You will need MACROS enabled for this to work. If it won’t send, this is most likely the reason. If this method does not work, contact your local UHC Agent Manager for instruction on submitting the form.
- Must be submitted at least 7 calendar days prior to the event (best practice is 14 days)
- Download the Event Request Form from the Agent Connect website.
- Once Logged in, click on “Event Management” found within the scrollbar tool on the left of the page
- You will see many tools/resources
- Click on the Event Request Form to download it
- Fill out the Event Request Form 3. Once completed, email the form to your local District Sales Manager
- Remember, events generally must be submitted 7-10 business days prior to the date of the event
6. Follow the cancellation rules.
If you decide to cancel your sales event, make sure you know each carrier's process and timeframe requirements.
If you cancel within the minimum required timeframe, a representative should still be present to notify potential attendees of the cancellation. That person needs to stay at least a half an hour past the scheduled start time.
7. Know what you can do.
At a sales event, you can do the following:
- Conduct lead generating activities
- Distribute and collect enrollment applications
- Distribute and collect SOA forms for a later meeting
- Provide business cards
- Distribute marketing materials
- Discuss plans offered
- Distribute sales and plan materials
- Provide giveaways displaying agent contact information
You have a lot of leeway when you do a sales event right – take advantage of that and make sure you market yourself and the plans you offer.
8. Keep the 12-hour rule in mind.
You can't hold marketing events within 12 hours of an educational event if it's in the same location. The same location is defined as the entire building or adjacent buildings.
If you plan to do educational and marketing events, keep them separate!
9. Bring the required materials with you.
To do a compliant sales seminar, you must have the following materials with you:
- Sales kits (this includes many of the other items in this list)
- Sales presentation video – REQUIRED
- Summary of Benefits – REQUIRED
- STAR Ratings – REQUIRED
Here are some optional materials that are helpful to bring with you:
- Scope of Appointment (SOA) – not required for sales seminar attendance, but need to use if someone wants to schedule a follow-up appointment.
- Provider directories (can also use Physician Finder/Find a Doctor online look-up tool)
- Drug formularies (can use online tools)
- Pre-paid envelopes (for use during Pre-AEP)
The sales presentation video should be shown at the beginning of your sales seminar. It hits on most of the points that are required for you to say in the secret shopper checklist.
10. Get familiar with what secret shoppers look for.
Speaking of secret shoppers, it's helpful to know what they're looking for.
Here's a quick list:
- You started on time.
- You only used compliant marketing materials and enrollment kits.
- The video played in its entirety – you didn't skip sections.
- You didn't use absolute statements, like "This carrier is the best."
- You didn't use pressure tactics.
- You fully covered the Summary of Benefits, drug coverage, network, and enrollment periods.
- You spoke in a clear and understandable manner.
All of these are common sense, so just be yourself and continue helping seniors understand their Medicare options!
When you read through and get familiar with the rules surrounding sales events, it's actually not that intimidating anymore.
August and September are the perfect months to start planning any sales events you want to do during AEP. Pick out some dates, find a venue, and get your event filed with the carrier you plan to talk about.
The next step is to fill up your seats, but that's a topic for another blog post!
Read more on this subject: How to Hold a Medicare Advantage Sales Seminar