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New Medicare marketing guidelines raise the specter of past predatory sales tactics

December 03, 2018 / Rose Meltzer

In 2007, insurers, state regulators and federal officials gathered before a Senate committee to answer what had become a nagging question within a growing Medicare Advantage (MA) market: Who was benefiting from the marketing of the increasingly profitable plans? The answer, it appeared, was insurers. Former Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, a Democrat who chaired the Senate's Special Committee on Aging, cited (PDF) "widespread confusion" as well as "outright misrepresentation and even fraud" associated with the sale of MA plans. Sherry Mowell, who worked for the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance in Georgia, explained in detail how sales agents manipulated, misled, and misrepresented potential consumers. Some were so shameless, they forged seniors’ signatures.