2022 Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines (MCMG)

2022 Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines (MCMG)

CMS has issued an updated version of the MCMG, found here: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/medicare-communications-marketing-guidelines-2-9-2022.pdf

Important highlights:

• Definition of “Communications vs Marketing”

• Process for submitting multi-plan marketing material to the plan & CMS

• Nominal Gifts (no change from previous years)

• Gift cards – 

o CMS is adopting OIG’s interpretation of cash equivalents. OIG has interpreted the term “cash equivalents” to encompass items convertible to cash (such as a check) or items that can be used like cash (such as a general-purpose debit card, but not a gift card that can be redeemed only for certain categories of items or services, like a fuel-only gift card redeemable at gas stations). See 85 Fed. Reg. 77,684, 77,789-90 (Dec. 2, 2020), 81 Fed. Reg. 88,368, 88,393 n. 19 (Dec. 7, 2016). CMS’s interpretation of “cash equivalents” for the purposes of this regulation mirrors OIG’s interpretation subject to the following, additional guidance. A general gift card that is not restricted to specific retail chains or to specific items and categories would fall under those types that would be considered a cash equivalent (e.g. Visa gift card). Gift cards for retailers or online vendors that sell a wide variety of consumer products would also fall under this prohibition (e.g. Walmart and Amazon). A gift card that can be used for a more limited selection of items or food, would not be considered a cash equivalent (e.g. Starbucks or a Shell Gas gift card).

• Prohibition of marketing during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP)