Hosting Medicare seminars is a great way to meet new prospects and generate leads. Seminars can be a powerful marketing tool that give you an opportunity to network in your community, create name recognition and build credibility as a trusted source of Medicare information.

CMS Compliance

Whether you are hosting an educational seminar or a sales seminar, CMS has strict guidelines you must follow.

Educational Seminars

The purpose of an educational seminar is to teach your audience about Medicare in general. Therefore, your presentation should be generic in nature, and you should not discuss any specific plans or carriers.

Your seminar should be held in a public venue and be advertised as an educational event. You cannot have a mandatory sign in sheet and cannot require attendees to provide any contact information. You can hand out your business card, permission to contact forms and BRC’s. You cannot collect SOA’s or enrollment forms.

Sales Seminars

A sales event differs from an educational event, in that you can market specific plans and steer potential enrollees to a particular plan.

Sales events can be held in a public venue or in a healthcare setting as long as they are held in a common area and not a restricted area where patient care or provider interaction takes place.

Once your sales seminar is planned you should report your event to the carriers you are representing. You need to know each carrier’s rules and timelines for registering so you can remain compliant with their requirements.

Unlike an educational event, you can provide a sign in sheet as long as it is optional, and you can collect SOA’s and enrollment forms. CMS guidelines state you cannot hold a sales event within 12 hours of an educational event at the same location.

Advance Preparation is Key to Success

Regardless of whether you are holding an educational seminar or a sales seminar, there are some tips and tricks that can help ensure a successful event.

  1. Choose Your Venue, Dates and Times

Schedule your event far enough in advance to secure a location and send out invitations. Choose an easily accessible location with plenty of parking. Make sure your venue has an appropriate set up for your presentation with plenty of seating and an area suitable for providing drinks and snacks if you plan to offer them. Choose dates and times convenient for your audience. For example, if you are marketing to a T65 audience, many of them may still be working so you might choose an evening or weekend time.

  1. Market Your Seminar

You want to market your seminar far enough in advance to create awareness of your event and maximize attendance. Your marketing message should be specific to your targeted audience. It’s usually more effective to promote your event using multiple marketing channels such as direct mail, social media, and email for existing clients.

  1. Prepare an Effective Presentation

Tailor your presentation to the attendees. Are they a T65 audience who is brand new to Medicare or are they more knowledgeable? If you aren’t comfortable with public speaking, you might want to practice your presentation in front of family and friends. Or look for public speaking courses offered in your area. You want your audience to see you as confident, credible and personable.

  1. Marketing Materials

Make sure in advance of your seminar that you have enough marketing materials on hand such as business cards, permission to contact forms and BRCs.

  1. Create a Budget

You should know how much expense you can allocate to each seminar and keep track to ensure you are not exceeding your budget.

Post Event Assessment

It’s important to take time after your event to review how successful it was. This will help you understand how well your presentation and marketing strategy worked.

  • How well did the venue location and set up work
  • How many people attended
  • Which marketing channel was most successful in reaching people
  • How many follow up appointments and sales were you able to make

CMS Rules for Gifts and Food

CMS rules allow for light snacks and beverages at your events, but not meals. Gifts must be valued at $15 or less per person. Cash gifts are not allowed. You cannot use attendee information for raffles or drawings. Gifts must be given to everyone in attendance and cannot be promoted in advance. Gift cards from small local businesses are allowed, but not those from big box retailers.

If you have questions about how to hold a compliant event, the experienced team at PTT Financial is here to help. Contact us today.