If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare (which is Medicare Part A and Part B), the benefits that are offered are basically the same for you and all of the other enrollees. These standardized Medicare coverage options actually come direct from Medicare itself, so if you want to learn more about copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and / or premium costs, you can oftentimes find exactly what it is you’re looking for directly on Medicare’s official website. (This site can be accessed by visiting www.Medicare.gov).
But if you also are enrolled in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, things can be a bit different. There are some good reasons for this. First off, these plans are not provided directly by Medicare, but rather they are sold via private insurance carriers that have been approved by Medicare to do so.
Because of that, Medicare Part D drug plans can differ – sometimes substantially – from one plan to another, and from one insurance carrier to another. These differences don’t just pertain to the benefits that are provided but also with the premiums that are charged.
With that in mind, unlike with Medicare Parts A and B, there isn’t just one central website or portal where you can go to get an overview of Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums, benefits, and other key information.
Based on the updated Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines that were published in July 2018, Medicare Part D plan agents and brokers are allowed to conduct the following activities as they pertain to marketing Medicare prescription drug plans over the phone:
According to the new Medicare Communication Guidelines, it is also permissible for Medicare Part D sponsors to make unsolicited direct contact with potential enrollees via the following methods:
So, even if you aren’t in the market for a different Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you may still be contacted about this type of coverage over the phone, via email, and / or by regular mail.
That being said, Medicare Part D agents and brokers may also offer nominal gifts to prospects and enrollees – again, provided that these gifts fall within the Medicare Communications guidelines.
For instance, the following rules apply to Medicare Part D marketing-related gifts:
On a related note, Medicare Part D plan sponsors are not allowed to either provide or subsidize meals at sales or marketing events. However, refreshments and light snacks may be provided to the attendees at these events.
In this case, it is important that the Medicare Part D plan sponsor ensure that the food items that are being provided at the event not be reasonably considered a meal, and that multiple items are not being “bundled” and offered as if they were in fact a meal.4
If you’re in the market to purchase a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan for the first time, or if you are interested in making a prescription drug plan change, it can be beneficial for you to discuss your needs with a professional who specializes in this type of coverage. That way, you can ensure that you get all of your questions answered before making a long-term commitment to this change in your coverage.
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Author Bio: Ben started Prepare for Medicare in 2014 to help people help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. He’s held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in product development, sales, marketing and strategy for over 20 years.