What Are the Rules for Providing Food at Medicare Events?

Do's & dont's of the Medicare Marketing Guidelines for Meals and Snacks

Getting ready to host your next Medicare event? Before you call a caterer—or hit the grocery store—you’ll want to make sure you’re following the Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) for providing food and beverages. And don’t worry: You don’t have to start sorting through the entire document. We’ll help you familiarize yourself with the MMG’s rules.

Can I Provide Food at My Medicare Marketing and Sales Events?

Yes, but it depends on the food. Brokers are allowed to provide “refreshments and light snacks” at marketing and sales events.

However, brokers are not allowed to provide (or pay for) meals. You will have be diligent and use your best judgement on the food you provide. It is your responsibility to make sure that everything provided can’t be considered a meal. You will also have to be careful and make sure that refreshments and snacks cannot be grouped together and provided—or eaten—as if they were a meal.

What About Educational Events?

Educational events are the exception to the “meals” part of the rule above. You can still provide food and snacks at educational events, but you are also allowed to provide meals. If you’d like to provide meals at an educational event, here are a few additional rules you must follow.

First, the event must meet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) strict definition of an educational event. To meet CMS’ definition, the event must be designed to inform beneficiaries about Medicare Advantage, Part D Prescription Drug Coverage, or another Medicare program. The event cannot include any marketing.

  • For example, a broker cannot advise, or try to advise, potential beneficiaries toward a specific plan or a set number of plans. A broker can only educate the beneficiaries about all of their potential product options.

Next, any meals provided must comply with the nominal gift requirement listed in section 70.1.1. This means that any meal provided (whether it is for a group or an individual) cannot exceed a nominal value per person.

  • For example, a broker has scheduled an educational event that 20 people will attend. He or she is planning to provide meals for each person and spends $300 on the meals in total. The value of each meal, per anticipated attendee, is a nominal $15.

That’s all there is when it comes to providing food at your next Medicare event.

Interested in Getting More Medicare Marketing Guidance?

Teaching you what to serve at your Medicare events isn’t the only thing Excelsior is good for. Among our other educational material, our team of Regional Sales Directors is also on hand to help you increase your earnings. Contact us today to learn how to double or triple your income.

Note: For the most current information, see the CMS Medicare Marketing Guidelines.



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