Secret Shopper program to check and see how insurers are pitching and selling...BD
Weems acknowledged that he wasn't just a shopper. He's actually the acting chief of the entire Medicare program. To get a better feel for the marketing practices of private insurers, Weems ordered senior staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to surreptitiously attend agents' presentations to seniors and the disabled. They call it the "secret shopper program." Weems has been to three, including one last week at a Virginia diner.
Medicare began using a private contractor earlier this year to audit the agents' presentations. After each presentation, they submit a report that details the accuracy of the agent's statements. Weems ordered CMS staff to get out and see for themselves whether agents are misleading Medicare beneficiaries. So far this year, secret shoppers have attended 119 separate presentations from 56 participating insurers. "We found that particular company was way out of compliance," Weems said "We sanctioned the company and asked them to stop marketing and retrain their agents," said Weems, who declined to identify the company.