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Medicare and ‘robo calls’ (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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A law relating to the Commerce Department could be considered a catchall of technical changes needed to areas of regulations, including Medicare, insurance providers and telecommunications.

The law, sponsored by Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) and Sen. Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin), will impact people covered under various Medicare plans by bringing Medicare statutes into compliance for notice requirements dictated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Of significance is one provision laying out how requests for genetic information from issuers of supplemental Medicare policies are to be handled. The level of coverage for various Medicare supplement plans is also clarified.

Additionally, the law addresses marketing insurance or annuities to senior citizens. It will be considered a “deceptive act” for agents to mislead a client by implying they have special certification or training in advising or servicing seniors.

Minnesota has statutes regarding who can use “robo calls” or automated telemarketing phone calls. Under the new law, a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization can robo call if it is “solely for the purpose of soliciting voluntary donations of clothing to benefit disabled United States military veterans.”

The law also sunsets the Minnesota do-not-call provision Dec. 31, 2012. Atkins said there is a similar federal law. He favored a sunset two years out, “just in case something happens with the federal law.”

The law has various effective dates.


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