Insurance companies selling Medicare private plans must follow certain rules when promoting their products. These rules are meant to prevent plans from presenting misleading information about a plan’s costs or benefits, also known as marketing fraud.

Medicare private plans are allowed to conduct certain activities. For instance, companies can market their plan through direct mail, radio, television, and print advertisements. Agents can also visit your home if you invite them for a marketing appointment. However, insurance agents cannot:

  • Call you if you did not give them permission to do so
  • Send you unsolicited emails
  • Visit you in your home, nursing home, or other place of residence without your invitation
  • Ask for your financial or personal information (like your Social Security number, Medicare number, or bank information) if they call you
  • Provide gifts or prizes worth more than $15 to encourage you to enroll (gifts or prizes that are worth more than $15 must be made available to the general public, not just to people with Medicare)
  • Disregard federal and state consumer protection laws for telemarketing, the National Do-Not-Call Registry, or do-not-call-again requests (you can register online for the National Do-Not-Call Registry or by calling from the number you wish to register)
  • Market their plans at educational events or in health care settings (except in common areas)
  • Sell you life insurance or other non-health products at the same appointment (known as cross-selling), unless you request information about such products
  • Compare their plan to another plan by name in advertising materials
  • Use the term “Medicare-endorsed” or suggest that their plan is a preferred Medicare plan
    • Plans can use Medicare in their names as long as it follows the plan name (for example, the Acme Medicare Plan) and the usage does not suggest that Medicare endorses that particular plan above other Medicare plans
  • Imply that they are calling on behalf of Medicare