If you administer a Medicare plan, staying in compliance is always at the forefront of your mind. It affects every part of your strategy and your operation. Often – perhaps too often – compliance dictates strategy. Managing compliance while simultaneously delivering an exceptional customer experience is a complex and sometimes frustrating balancing act, especially when it comes to member communications.
Member communications require strict compliance for Medicare plans. For members, it’s all about access. Ensuring accessible message delivery to members varying widely in demographics and geographies can be a tall order. Plans must consistently execute timely messages in multiple languages across multiple channels to ensure compliance and keep membership engaged, aware and informed.
Successfully implementing an integrated communication management platform eats up a lot of valuable staff resource hours that could be better spent in other areas of plan administration. There are technologies that can help you execute in an easy, accurate manner. Today, we’ll focus on three compliance issues and communication tools you can employ to help you stay compliant – and a step ahead of your competition.
Foreign Language Translation Support
Growing membership diversity means that it is highly likely that plan sponsors will be required to communicate in multiple languages. The particulars of executing dynamic, personalized communication pieces in foreign languages requires extensive technical domain knowledge that exceeds the bandwidth of many plan administrators. The translation is only part of the story; it’s more than simply translating information from one language to another. You must also transform these translations into personalized documents that accurately integrate all of the inherently complex plan information elements required.
The right service platform can help you overcome these obstacles. There are various translation services available. Some, like those used in ABG Communications services, ensure that all translations comply with the ASTM Standard Guide for Quality Assurance in Translation, so your plan will have access to affidavits of translation accuracy.
 2016 Medicare Marketing Guidelines require that “Plans/Part D Sponsors must make the marketing materials identified in sections 30.6, 30.7, 30.9, and the Part D Transition Letter(s) available in any language that is the primary language of at least five (5) percent of a Plan’s/Part D Sponsor’s plan benefit package service area.”
When the regulators come calling, we all need to have our ducks in a row. The sheer amount of record-keeping involved in administering Medicare plans is astounding. You need the right records to be accessible at the right time. ABG’s BridgeSuite® applications archive and make fulfillment records accessible through an HIPAA-compliant secure web interface, and makes them available on demand in the event a plan or plan sponsor needs to prove fulfillment to regulators.
Digital Communications Formats
Medicare allows plans and plan sponsors to employ digital delivery methods for communications, provided required consent management specifics are managed.  The most common use cases employ email and member-facing web portals.
This approach has extraordinary potential benefits for the plan sponsor, plan and member alike, but distributing plan information and marketing materials digitally takes more than just pressing a button. Managing the secure creation and distribution of digital documents while ensuring timely delivery requires a significant operational commitment. Contracting a vendor or a software platform to manage digital communication fulfillment can yield cost savings in excess of 80% over like member communications sent through traditional means.
Documents can be delivered electronically through ABG’s application programming interface (API), securely delivering content to member-facing portals, ensuring that members can access them whenever needed, and preventing loss in the sea of emails the average person receives each day. Email notifications to members, if they bounce, or are left unopened, can be switched to paper fulfillment automatically to preserve compliance.
Further, ABG provides automated procedures that transform pharmacy and provider data into directory publications that serve up only the entries pertinent to the individual member receiving the electronic directory, instead of printing and shipping books with all possible entries. This significantly reduces the expense of these elements.
 Source: 2016 Medicare Marketing Guidelines: Section 40.9 – Providing Materials in Different Media Types; 40.9 – Providing Materials in Different Media Types; 42 CFR 422.64, 422.111, 423.48, and 423.128. NOTE: The freedom to employ digital presentation formats without prior consent from member recipients is ONLY applicable to provider and pharmacy directories – all other communications covered in the Marketing Guidelines require prior consent to have been obtained from members.
Tying it all together:
For document production, editing and proofing, a full-service communication suite is your best bet. ABG’s BridgeSuite® Medicare enables documents to be edited, updated, proofed and approved online, speeding and simplifying the process of implementing change while ensuring regulatory requirements are met. It also automates production of these documents accurately across any threshold language.
To learn more about how ABG can help execute your member communications to improve your retention – and your bottom line, request a demo today.