Since inception, the Scope of Appointment (SOA) requirement for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans has been a thorn in the agent’s side.
Obtaining a signed document from a prospect granting the agent permission to discuss Medicare Advantage and/or Part D plans at least 48 hours in advance of a scheduled appointment is a clumsy, time-consuming process that confuses consumers and, worse, can imply that agents are not trustworthy.
Until the 2016 Plan Year, the majority of Medicare Health Plan Sponsors agreed an SOA form was required only for face-to-face appointments and not for phone calls between agents and consumers. However, the dominant interpretation among Medicare Health Plan Sponsors now is that agents must obtain an SOA for all enrollments.
That said, this year the 48-hour rule was relaxed. CMS clarified this summer that obtaining the form is always required, and doing so 48 hours in advance of a scheduled appointment is preferred. But as long as the form is obtained, doing so immediately before the appointment on the day of the appointment is acceptable but requires a brief written explanation for the variance, such as “phone call” or “walk-in.”
SMS designed its groundbreaking eSignature Scope of Appointment process for agents who use Lead Advantage®, our all-in-one sales management tool, to help service clients and prospects primarily over the phone. To our knowledge, this is the first eSignature SOA form available.
The process is quick and easy for agents and consumers, so long as both have Internet access and email. The whole process takes two to three minutes, and the completed, e-signed and dated, CMS-approved SOA form is stored in Lead Advantage, available on demand as a PDF for the agent to provide to any Medicare Plan Sponsor in connection with an enrollment.