Bill Introduced to Remove Agents from Burdensome Medicare Rule

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) last week introduced S. 5149, a bill to remove agents from a definition that would result in burdensome requirements for agents enrolling consumers into Medicare. PIA supports this legislation.

The bill seeks to reverse the harmful Medicare rule that could discourage licensed agents and brokers from representing Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans. This could result in millions of Medicare beneficiaries not being able to access to assistance with the enrollment process that can only be provided by licensed professionals. PIA, along with a coalition of agent groups, opposed this final rule.

In May of this year a final rule was issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that makes changes to the “Medicare Program: Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs,” also referred to as the Medicare Marketing Rule, was finalized.  Agents and brokers were excluded from stakeholder discussions during the rule’s development; as a result, it does not reflect the business practices of independent agents and brokers and their relationships with their clients. 

The final rule seeks to discourage dishonest marketing behaviors by requiring third-party marketing organizations (TPMOs) to record all enrollment conversations. However, such entities are already required to record all enrollment conversations. This rule broadens the definition of TPMOs  to impose an unnecessary burden on many entities that are acting responsibly, including individual agents and brokers who will be subject to this new recording requirement.

Unfortunately, efforts to convince HHS to revise this rule or delay its implementation until HHS can fully consult with stakeholders have not been successful. As a result, PIA, along with our allies in the agent community, have been working to develop a legislative fix.

PIA thanks Senator Rounds for his leadership in introducing this legislation that would prevent this rule from imposing an unnecessary burden on many entities that are acting responsibly, including individual agents and brokers, who will be subject to this new recording requirement. The burdensome rule is the result of what happens when the experts in the field, insurance agents and brokers, are left out of the decision-making process. This legislation seeks to right that wrong.

PIA will advocate in favor of this legislation throughout the lame duck session of congress currently underway and, if needed, in the new 118th Congress.