Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services targets deceptive Medicare Advantage ads

There has been quite a bit of discussion on METAR about the problems with Medicare Advantage when the insurance companies which administer the program deny coverage.

Apparently, an even worse problem is deceptive advertising – so bad that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is writing a new rule to prohibit deceptive ads. It’s about time! One of the main jobs of a different agency (the FDA) is targeting deceptive medical advertising.

By AMANDA SEITZ, AP News, 12/14/2022

The rule, proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would ban ads that market Medicare Advantage plans with confusing words, imagery or logos. The new regulation would also prohibit ads that don’t specifically mention a health insurance plan by name.

It’s an aggressive step to tackle a growing problem in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, a booming business that offers privately run versions of the government’s Medicare program for people who are 65 and older or have disabilities. Nearly half of all Medicare enrollees — about 28 million — are now turning to Medicare Advantage plans…

[snip examples of misleading advertising designed to trick seniors]… [end quote]

Here is the press release from CMS. It addresses concerns of 4,000 responders to the CMS request for opinions about Medicare Advantage. And there were a lot of concerns from coverage to advertising.

Here is the fact sheet on the proposed rule.

Since this is a proposed rule, I don’t know what it will take to implement it or how long until approval is finalized. I’m also not clear about how CMS will enforce the rule since there don’t seem to be any penalties for violating rules…not to mention that most Medicare beneficiaries probably won’t know the rules or how to report violations.

Still, it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a Macroeconomic issue because it affects tens of millions of dollars and half the Medicare program which is a giant slice of the federal budget.


Some Astroturf group will probably file suit to block the rulemaking, contending it infringes the “JCs” freeedom to say whatever they want.


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Oh the irony in that. Those same lawyers and same conservative businessmen used the freedom of speech arguments to kick severely mentally ill people to the curb in the 1980s. Why not kick granny to the curb now? She loved it for others.

The Millennials and Zs have other plans to take care of granny.

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On the news wire today, a “thought leader” is promising that he will get rid of the speech censors, so people will be free to propagate any lie or conspiracy theory they want, on any platform, without consequences.




The funny thing is the promise is redundant that has already arrived.

Imagine being a vitamin salesman/snake oil salesman and reading that…totally boring.