What You Should Know About Scope of Appointment

Senior couple signing an SOA form with their agent

Throughout each Annual Enrollment Period, Scope of Appointment (SOA) forms are a must-have before your meetings with beneficiaries. Below, I’ve broken down a few frequently asked questions about SOA forms.

Do I need to have an SOA for sales meetings that discuss plan benefits?

Absolutely. It’s a CMS requirement. Prior to an appointment, the topics to be discussed are agreed upon between the agent and the beneficiary; they are documented by a signed SOA form. There are no exceptions.

Can I have the prospect complete an SOA form at the beginning of an individual sales appointment?

Per CMS guidelines, the SOA should be gathered prior to the appointment. Having the prospect sign an SOA form at the beginning of the appointment should not be a common occurrence; agents who do this may face disciplinary action. If an SOA cannot be completed prior to any meeting between an agent and beneficiary, the reason why must be documented once the SOA form is signed.

Are prospects who attend a sales seminar required to complete an SOA form?

No. Prospects who have RSVP’d are not required to fill out an SOA form. In general, sales presentations to groups of beneficiaries do not require documentation of beneficiary agreement because they are group sales events—not personal or individual events. Also, the range of products to be discussed would have been indicated on all event advertising materials.

Do I have to wait 48 hours for another appointment to discuss a different Medicare Advantage product type with a prospect?

No. The 48-hour cooling off period is for discussing non-health-related products such as annuities and life insurance. However, prior to discussing a different Medicare Advantage product type during the same appointment, you must have the prospect complete a new SOA documenting his or her agreement to discussing a different product.

Are walk-ins to my office required to complete an SOA form?

Yes. Prospective walk-ins who do not have a preset appointment must document the SOA prior to beginning the meeting. You must notate this on the SOA.

If unexpected prospects are present for my properly solicited appointment, are they required to sign an SOA form?

Yes. If—and when—agents encounter unexpected prospect(s) who are present for a properly solicited and documented individual appointment, the additional prospect(s) must document the SOA prior to the beginning of the appointment. CMS views this as a beneficiary-initiated contact.

Can I give SOA forms to providers to hand out in their office?

No. Providers must remain neutral in enrollment decisions and are prohibited from offering SOA forms or steering prospects toward any plan(s).



About the Author

Vanessa Parker, Excelsior Senior Brokerage Regional Sales Director, South East

Vanessa Parker has worked in insurance sales for more than 20 years. Parker’s experience includes national, international, and regional sales. She has also worked within localized markets with large FMOs, agencies, and individual agents in the senior and group markets.

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