WASHINGTON – A bill (S. 5149) introduced November 30 by Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) would amend a definition that would currently result in burdensome requirements for insurance agents and brokers who assist consumers enrolling into Medicare. Sen. Rounds’ bill is supported by a broad coalition including the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA).
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted a final rule in May of this year seeking to discourage dishonest marketing behaviors by requiring third-party marketing organizations (TPMOs) to record all enrollment conversations – despite the fact that such entities are already required to record all enrollment conversations. However, the new rule greatly expands the recording requirement, to include for the first time all independent insurance agents and brokers.
“The rule adopted by CMS places an unnecessary burden on many entities that are acting responsibly to assist consumers, including individual agents and brokers who will be subject to this new recording requirement,” said Jon Gentile, vice president of government relations of PIA. “It will discourage agents and brokers from representing Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans and have the unintended consequence of denying access to millions of Medicare beneficiaries to assistance with the enrollment process that can only be provided by licensed professionals.”
Agents and brokers were excluded from stakeholder discussions during the rule’s development; as a result, it does not reflect the business practices of independent agents and brokers and their relationships with their clients.
“This is yet another example of an ill-conceived regulation that causes more damage rather than solves a problem. This legislation seeks to right that wrong,” Gentile added. “PIA appreciates the efforts of Senator Rounds to correct this situation and preserve consumer access to the assistance provided by licensed insurance professionals. PIA will actively advocate in favor of this legislation throughout the lame duck session of Congress currently underway and, if needed, in the new 118th Congress.”