States ask Congress for authority over Medicare Advantage plan marketers

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What do you want to know

  • Insurers have long called for regulatory uniformity.
  • Congress appointed CMS to oversee the marketing of the Medicare plan.
  • State regulators say they are often in a better position to curb abusive business practices.

State insurance regulators say Congress should give them the power to crack down when Medicare Advantage plans use deceptive marketing and advertising strategies.

Leaders of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners are calling on Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate for an expanded role in regulating the Medicare Advantage plan.

“We are seeing an increase in complaints from seniors about the confusing, misleading, and potentially misleading advertising and marketing of these plans,” NAIC leaders write in a new letter to congressional leaders. “Unfortunately, due to federal law, state insurance regulators are not permitted to exercise their oversight authority in the advertising and marketing of MA plans.”

The NAIC has called on Congress to update the main Medicare Advantage plan law, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, or MMA, to allow states to regulate plan marketing practices.

Three of the officers who signed the letter – Dean Cameron, NAIC chairman and Idaho insurance director; Chlora Lindley-Myers, NAIC President-Elect and Missouri Insurance Director; and Jon Godfread, NAIC secretary-treasurer and North Dakota insurance commissioner, are either Republicans or Republican-appointed nonpartisan officials.

The fourth, Andrew Mais, NAIC vice president and Connecticut insurance commissioner, is a Democrat.

What this means

Federal financial services regulators may be about to face increasingly intense competition from state financial services regulators.

Increased competition between regulators could allow some of your customers to get better support if they have a problem.

But in other cases, competition between regulators could lead to confusion over which rules apply, new oversight gaps and efforts by affected parties to hand over disputes to what they think are the friendliest regulators. .

While this particular dispute involves health insurance plans and the role of federal and state regulators varies widely across markets, similar turf wars could arise in relation to fixed annuities and products. products, variable insurance and annuity products, securities and other financial services products.

The demand from regulators

The NAIC officials acknowledge in their letter that state regulators have authority over insurance agents and brokers.

“However, without any real authority over the plans themselves, there is a large regulatory vacuum that allows abusive marketing practices to thrive,” the regulators write. “Without the restoration of supervisory authority (or, at least, greater authority) over schemes, state insurance departments are too often unable to prevent abusive business practices.”

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