The CMS has issued revised compensation requirements for sales agents and brokers who sell Medicare Advantage and prescription drug benefit plan options to Medicare beneficiaries. The interim final rule, which will be published in the Federal Register on Nov. 14, revises regulations established in mid-September.
For example, the rule specifies that all compensation paid to agents and brokers reflect fair-market value, based on all commissions paid in the past, and adjusted for inflation for similar products in the same geographic area; and it requires that renewal compensation be no moreor no lessthan half of the compensation paid for that beneficiary in the initial year of the six-year compensation cycle that was established in regulations issued on Sept. 18.
The rule also would require plans to submit to the CMS their compensation structures for the previous three years as well as the compensation structure they are implementing for 2009. According to a news release from the CMS, that information must also be provided to agents, brokers and other third parties under contract to sell their plansand those rates or structures cannot be changed without prior CMS approval. The rule we are issuing will help to resolve any confusion about how the private plans should implement compensation structures to meet those needs," acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems said in a news release. "The steps we are taking should help to make sure that brokers and agents are selling health or drug plans that best meet beneficiaries needs when open enrollment begins Nov. 15.
The rule has an open comment period until Dec. 15. -- by Jessica Zigmond