As an insurance agent, your online presence is important to your business. The guidelines and regulations prescribed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are meant to ensure you remain compliant every step of the way. The following are excerpts from a carrier’s Sales Policy Job Aid. Review the guidelines below to verify you are on the correct path.
Using “Medicare” in your website domain name and/or URL
CMS states that it is prohibited for any person to use words or symbols, including ‘Medicare’, ‘Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’, ‘Department of Health and Human Services’ or ‘Health & Human Services’ in a manner that would convey the false impression that the business or product mentioned is approved, endorsed, or authorized by Medicare or any other government agency.
Website Content Guidelines
Agents must not:
• Post any carrier’s branded marketing and plan materials, including product descriptions and benefits.
• Post or reproduce a carrier’s branded materials that were obtained on the respective Toolkit, including any materials used to advertise educational or marketing/sales events.
• Post or reproduce any carrier’s proprietary or confidential information.
• Agents must not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sex, age, mental or physical disability, health status, receipt of health care, claims experience, medical history, genetic information, evidence of insurability, or geographic location.
o For example, agents must not state or imply that plans are only available for “seniors”, rather than to all Medicare eligible individuals.
• Agents must not use the term “free” to describe a zero-dollar premium, reduction in premiums (including Part B buy-down), reduction in deductibles or cost sharing, low-income subsidy (LIS), and cost sharing for individuals with dual eligibility.
Agents may post generic educational and/or marketing/sales event advertising on their business website. Advertisements or invitations to marketing/sales events must include the following disclaimer (verbatim):
• “For accommodations of persons with special needs at meetings call <insert phone number and TTY number).”
Educational events must be advertised or promoted as educational or in a way that would lead consumers to believe that it is explicitly for educational purposes.
Social Media Guidelines
Agent use of business social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, chat rooms, and message boards as a marketing tool is subject to regulations, policies, and procedures.
Any social media platform used to conduct business on behalf of a carrier must be a business account, rather than a personal account.
Professional Conduct Expectations
• You are solely responsible for the content you post online. Always act responsibly and respectfully. Do not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, threats of violence, or obscenities. Do not use business social media platforms as a place to abuse or express opinions about consumers, members, colleagues, or business partners.
• State the intent of the contact with the consumer and identify yourself as a sales agent.
• Be transparent, always state that your opinions are your own and not of a carrier or its affiliates.
• Exercise good judgment before posting. Do not share confidential information, protected health information, credit card information, social security numbers, or individually identifiable financial or health information.
All agent business websites and business social media accounts may be subject to review and monitoring by a respective carrier.