How Do I Compliantly Ask for Medicare Referrals?

Infographic about Medicare Marketing Guidelines for Referrals and Leads

Getting referrals from current Medicare enrollees is a great way to grow your client base. But there are CMS guidelines (Medicare Marketing Guidelines section 30.8) you’ll have to follow when asking for referral information and when contacting those referrals. In this article, we’ll detail which referral information you can receive from enrollees, how you can contact those referrals, and compliant ways you can thank your enrollees for providing referrals.

Which Referral Information Can I Receive From an Enrollee?

First, congratulations! Asking an enrollee for referrals is a great step toward helping more seniors choose Medicare coverage that will meet their needs. And if your enrollee agrees to give you referrals, it means that he or she trusts you. Here are the pieces of information you can ask for when receiving referrals:

  • Names
  • Mailing addresses

Which Referral Information Am I Prohibited from Receiving from an Enrollee?

  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses

While it may be tempting to ask enrollees for a faster way to contact referrals, brokers are only permitted to collect names and mailing addresses. Gathering any other information is prohibited by CMS.

How Can I Contact Referrals?

As you may have gathered from the section above, brokers can only solicit potential enrollees through conventional mail. So, you’ll have to buy stamps and envelopes. Phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, and Twitter mentions are all prohibited ways of contacting referrals.

Can I Give Thank-You Gifts for Referrals?

Yes, but there are a few conditions.

First, you can’t announce that enrollees will get a gift for giving you referrals. For example, you cannot send out a letter to current enrollees that says, “Send me your referrals in order to receive a Medicare mug.” Even in a one-on-one setting, you can’t tell an enrollee that he or she will receive something in exchange for giving you referrals. In a CMS compliant situation, you would 1) ask for referrals without mentioning any benefit to the enrollee and then 2) present a thank-you gift for the referrals he or she has provided.

Second, the gifts you provide must be of a nominal value. Nominal, by definition, means “very small” and “far below the real value or cost.” So, keep your gifts small and inexpensive.

Third, as stated in Section 70.1.1 of the Medicare Marketing Guidelines, “nominal gifts may not be in the form of cash or other monetary rebates, even if their worth is $15 or less.”

That’s all, brokers. Now you’re ready to compliantly ask for referrals, thank those who provided referrals, and contact potential new enrollees.

Ready for More Medicare Marketing Guidance?

Excelsior has more marketing guidance available on our online resource center to help you stay compliant. More interested in learning how to double or triple your income through compliant cross-selling techniques? Contact the Excelsior team to learn how we can help you.

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


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