Sen. Wyden condemns Medicare Advantage marketing deception

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has issued a report regarding what he said is a rise in deceptive marketing practices targeting seniors with Medicare Advantage plans.

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Wyden has also offered the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) a series of recommendations to reduce the tactics.

“Older Americans and those living with a disability count on Medicare to deliver dependable and high-quality health care when they need it most,” Wyden, Senate Finance Committee chair, said. “It is unacceptable for this magnitude of fraudsters and scam artists to be running amok in Medicare, and I will be working closely with CMS to ensure this dramatic increase in marketing complaints is addressed.”

Medicare Advantage offers valuable plan options and extra benefits to seniors. It is critical to stop tactics harming seniors or undermining their confidence in the program, Wyden said.

Authorities maintain Wyden’s report examines practices used by insurance companies, brokers, and third-party marketers to encourage seniors to sign up for their plans, including deceptive mail advertisements; misleading claims concerning increasing Social Security benefits; and enrolling beneficiaries in a new plan without their consent.

Report recommendations to CMS, per officials, include reinstating requirements eased during the Trump administration; monitoring disenrollment patterns while using CMS’s enforcement authority to hold violators accountable; requiring agents and brokers to execute best practices; and implementing stringent rules with regard to Medicare Advantage marketing materials while closing regulatory loopholes enabling cold-calling.