The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has strict marketing guidelines in place to protect Medicare customers and potential Medicare prospects from overly aggressive sales and marketing techniques aimed at those in fragile health.  If you are preparing Medicare marketing materials, make sure that you are not violating any of the requirements or guidelines put forth by CMS. To learn more about CMS, visit their website at

The marketing guidelines put forth by CMS cover a wide range of marketing materials, including

  • Brochures
  • Direct mail
  • General consumer advertising
  • Promotional materials
  • Presentation materials
  • Membership communication materials
  • Member handbooks
  • Communications directed to members
  • Website contents
  • and much more

Health plans are responsible for ensuring that all marketing materials such as those described above and directed toward Medicare beneficiaries conform to CMS standards and are submitted to CMS for approval and acceptance. CMS marketing requirements are described in detail in the CMS document entitled Medicare Marketing Guidelines. CMS just recently revised this document for the 2014 contract year. CMS released the draft document for public comment on March 25, 2013, and received over 1,000 comments from 86 entities, including MAOs, PDP sponsors, consumer advocacy groups, pharmacy associations, health plan associations, and State departments of health. After analyzing the comments received from these entities, a final revision was completed in June of 2013. To access the newly revised final guidelines as a PDF file, click here.

The Medicare Marketing Guidelines document provides a comprehensive overview of all Medicare Marketing Guidelines and it is recommended that health plan marketers become familiar with its contents and use it as a reference guide when creating new marketing materials, campaigns, advertising or other communication outreach to Medicare members and prospects.

Keep in mind that CMS periodically reviews plan sponsor marketing materials either by random sample, during regularly scheduled contract compliance visits, and through “secret shopper” activities.

To learn more and get started on a comprehensive, cost-effective Medicare marketing translation program, contact us today!