California Broker Magazine asks:

How did the CMS call recording requirement affect your business?
Here’s the results of our CMS Call Recording Requirement Survey

The team at California Broker is committed to listening to our subscriber’s thoughts on trends and issues — and sharing these in our print and digital media.  Surveys are the best tool to accomplish this goal. 

From November 2022 to January 15, 2023, we conducted a survey on the CMS Call Recording Requirement Survey Report. We invited Cal Broker subscribers on both our print and digital media to tell us about their experience with the CMS requirement for Medicare Call Recording.

Thank you to those of you who took the time to respond.

Let’s start with a review of WHY this requirement happened. 

CMS acted based on the Federal Registry in 2022 which reported 39,617 “complaints to Medicare” out of 29 million MAPD and PDP enrollments. Note the complaints represent a VERY small amount of the total beneficiary population — 0.0013661%. 

Medicare beneficiary complaints about post enrollment access to providers and coverage (mostly for prescription drugs) surfaced and centered on “misleading enrollment practices.” 

The main cause of these complaints seemed to be attached to the organizations connected with misleading TV commercials, since the increase in commercials and the increase in beneficiary complaints are related. 

In response to these complaints, CMS created the new call recording regulations to protect Medicare beneficiaries. CMS further passed management of the compliance of health insurance professionals to MAPD and PDP carriers.

 The WHAT is the requirement itself. There are two key factors in the ruling that Medicare agents had to comply with:

  1.   Agents must record all “marketing” calls
  2.   Agents must store all recordings of the calls

CMS Desired Outcome of Recording Requirement:

This new requirement was designed to improve the chances that a Medicare enrollment professional would do what is best for consumers and work to ensure their client finds a suitable health and drug plan. 

 The issue targeted by the requirement was the practice of “no enrollment — no commission.” When someone calls into an 800 line, the enroller is highly incentivized to take shortcuts to enroll first with no incentive to improve the caller’s coverage or access to care. 

 An unexpected outcome was that many Medicare enrollers moved away from the MAPD and PDP market to enroll the underserved Medicare beneficiaries. These enrollments could be done face-to-face and avoid the recording requirement.

 A Point of Perspective 

We all realize when requirements come down from “above,” as insurance professionals we have the decision to comply or rebel. We also know that time-consuming requirements added to our businesses work flow are most often unwelcome — mostly because we feel it is the other guy or agency that created the problems which led to the new requirement. 

 Survey responses: 

  1.   On a scale from 1 (poor) to 5 (very good) how did you find the call recording process?

100% of respondents rated from a 1 to a 3 and 60% of respondents rated under 3.

Clearly this new requirement was not highly appreciated!

  1.   What percent of clients choose not to be recorded?

87.5% of respondents answered 0-25%. Clients seemed to be OK with the recording. 

  1.   Do you now consider call recording a best practice that benefits both you and your clients?

75% answered “1” and 30% answered “3” showing that not many are fans of the recording process. 

  1.   Did your FMO help you get the recording setup? If not, how did you get ready? 

62.5% responded that their FMO helped. 37.5% indicated they used either Zoom or some other recording system, or their employer handled it.  


Look to your state and local professional associations for plans to lobby CMS for adjustments to this practice.

HEADS UP: As we said, CMS delegated compliance for recording calls to the health plan carriers. Carriers offering MAPD and PDP plans can require a contracted and certified producer to provide compliance proof, including call recordings. We have heard recently from a few Medicare insurance professionals that several health plans are exercising their option to request not only Scope of Appointment proof but recordings of enrollments in their plans. 

PLEASE keep Cal Broker informed of what you hear and experience with your insurance business. We are happy to share your perspective with our 25,000 readers and 8,000 email subscribers.