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Comments: 2019 Medicare Advantage Marketing Materials

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on these proposed changes to the 2019 Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG). We are disappointed that this process allows us such limited scope for comment and lacks even rudimentary draft language.

The absence of clear draft language means that we are unable to comment directly in many cases. Rules surrounding marketing to and communicating with beneficiaries depend greatly on the details of specific permissions and prohibitions. Small changes to language can be quite significant in terms of beneficiary understanding. In particular, the absence of draft language around definitions, such as proposed changes to Appendix 1, makes it impossible to judge the sufficiency and accuracy of the new definitions. But other changes also hinge on precise wording that ensures that all parties can see the scope of—and potential ambiguities in—textual changes. By denying commenters a glimpse of the text, CMS is rejecting valuable insights, clarifications, and feedback about how the text will be interpreted, used, or even misused.

In addition, the lack of draft language makes identifying the exact location of changes difficult. This commenting form expects commenters to assign comments to particular sections of the MMG, yet the list provided by CMS does not identify the precise sections that are being modified. This requires commenters to guess exactly what changes are being made where, which can cause misunderstanding and frustration for all parties involved.

The missing draft language also requires commenters to guess regarding other changes CMS may consider more minor and not warranting a bullet in the short list. This means that commenters are forced to make assumptions about unmentioned changes, either to assume they are not being made or to assume they are…

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