I recently found this letter from CMS to Medicare Advantage Health plans dated last week where CMS warns health plans about the practice of “Pay for Referrals”. (Click to view: cms_2009_02_24)
I had never heard of any companies who were doing this. I even called a few contacts and no one seemed to know what this was even talking about, so I wasn’t sure even if it was something to add to my blog (not knowing any examples of the practice, etc.)
Today, I finally found an article which mentioned the practice. Seems this was done mainly in Florida where payouts for enrollments were much higher in 2008 than most of the rest of the country.
In other news. . .
I’ve been getting questions from brokers like, “When will I be getting the other half of my Medicare Advantage commissions?” The only sniff of news on this front comes at the end of the CMS letter. . .
In the second to last paragraph of the CMS letter, they mention that they will be issuing lists of “New to Medicare/New to Medicare Advantage” members to the Medicare Advantage Health Plans “. . several times in 2009″. Nothing specific on exactly when, which is troublesome. I checked with a few insiders and I didn’t get any clues there either.
I am, at least, slightly encouraged that at least this is somewhere on the CMS radar. I was getting a bit nervous that, with 2010 bids around the corner, the small matter of agents getting paid the other 50% of the commissions they earned on the work they did 4 months ago, which had already been lowered on Christmas Eve after much of the work was already done, might become an even lower priority than it apparently already is.
WE NEED SOME STIMULUS OVER HERE, PLEASE!!! (I could rant on this topic for many more paragraphs, but I’ve probably already said enough?)
If I hear anything further, I will post!