Friday, September 3, 2010

CMS's Recent Rulings

On June 4 of this year, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the third and final chapter of the Medicare Marketing Guidelines. Over the next couple weeks, we will be telling you more about these changes, who they affect and how those people are affected.

Some of the more interesting and notable changes include requirements for plan sponsors with non-English speaking populations and populations with special needs. For example, a new ruling states that ID cards for Medicare Beneficiaries are excluded from translation requirements and only need to be produced in English. Additionally, the new guidelines state:

“Plan sponsors must make their marketing materials available in any language that is the primary language of more than ten percent of a plan sponsor’s service area. Additionally, plan sponsors must place translated versions of these materials on the plan’s website. Also, all plan sponsors’ call centers must be able to accommodate non-English speaking/reading beneficiaries. Plan sponsors must have appropriate interpreter services available to call center personnel to answer questions from non-English speaking beneficiaries.”

The role of social networking has been in constant debate regarding healthcare and pharma companies recently with regards to how companies can use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to market their products. Now, CMS will allow plan sponsors to market their products via social networking websites, but CMS will carefully monitor use of social networking sites to inform potential future revisions to this policy.

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