The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released its model documents for the 2017 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The rigorous, highly complex rules and regulations for member marketing materials – specifically, Annual Notice of Change (ANOCs) and Evidence of Coverage (EOCs) documents – provide significant challenges for health plans year after year.

Some health plans may be tempted to create their 2017 AEP materials by making updates to their 2016 templates to avoid having to build the materials from scratch. However, this can be a risky method. Here’s why:

1. Increased risk of errors: With the ANOCs numbering between 8-20 pages, and the EOC documents ranging between 120-200 pages, the risk of error is extremely high. If one data point of the thousands you update is missed, your health plan is out of compliance. This creates the need for issuing ERRATAs, a correction sheet plans must mail to all members informing them of errors in previously published materials. Your plan could also face costly fines from CMS.

2. Longer approval times: Keep in mind that if you update the 2016 documents – or create any AEP materials that veer from the 2017 model documents provided by CMS – you are required to submit them to CMS for a 45-day review. This is a big chunk of time lost when you only have until the end of September to get these materials in your member’s hands. Using the 2017 model documents provided by CMS – which only requires a 10-day file and use approval period – is the least risky and most expeditious way to prepare your AEP materials.

To expedite the distribution of these documents once bids are approved, plans should start building their AEP documents now. For those bids that CMS accepts, documents are ready to be finalized, reviewed and sent to the printer as soon as possible, which will go a long way in ensuring that materials are distributed on time.

CodyPrint® and the CodySoft® Collateral Management Module® can help streamline these processes and ensure that your documents are distributed on time and in compliance. To find out more, contact us today.