Scope of appointment 48 hours
As of September 30, 2023, the CMS Final Rule includes a change that includes the requirement of obtaining a scope of appointment 48 hours before an agent meets with a client or potential client. This is a major change to the current SOA (Scope of Appointment) rules.
The Scope of Appointment also referred to as SOA, is a form that must be signed by a beneficiary before a scheduled meeting. The form outlines the topics that the agent and beneficiary have agreed to discuss during their meeting. The purpose of the SOA is to discourage agents from pressuring the beneficiary to discuss products they are not prepared to discuss. This ensures that beneficiaries have time to consider the products they are actually interested in learning about and helps to avoid confusion.
Do you really need to get the SOA 48 hours in advance
The short answer is, YES. As we mentioned before, this rule applies to scope of appointment forms starting September 30, 2023. The SOA must be signed 48 hours before a scheduled appointment or phone call with the beneficiary. The rule is the same weather you are meeting with a client who has been part of your book of business for years or a potential new client. Anytime you meet to discuss plan benefits, you need a scope of appointment.
Exceptions to the rule
There are three exceptions to the 48-hour rule.
- One exception to the rule is during the last four days of a valid election period. During this time, agents are permitted to get a same day Scope.
- The second exception is when the beneficiary walks into the agent’s office without a scheduled appointment. This beneficiary-initiated meeting is referred to as a “walk in”.
- The third and final exception is when the beneficiary calls the agent without a scheduled appointment time.
How this rule effects the agent
This rule can make things somewhat difficult for agents. Some beneficiaries may not want to go out of their way to sign a form 48 hours before a meeting can take place. For some beneficiaries it may be inconvenient to travel just to sign a form and then travel out again to meet the agent. This can result in a few missed appointments. All the effects of the rule remain to be seen. It is certainly not one many agents are overly excited about.
Whatever the result, the 48-rule being put back in place means agents have to change how they do business.