Last night CMS issued some guidance for Medicare Advantage and Part D enrollments. This guidance relates to this plan year only. CMS told the plans that they can accept paper enrollments with a postmark of Dec. 8, 2011 or earlier, regardless when they are received by the plan.
Thus, if you (as an agent) receive an application from a member with a postmark of Dec. 8, 2011 or earlier, you should retain the envelope to prove the postmark date and immediately submit the application to the company.
CMS' former guidance was that the paper enrollment must be received by the plan by Dec. 7, 2011 and that the postmark was not relevant. The guidance also accounted for some late enrollments for SHIPs (State-run senior health insurance assistance programs), but this particular guidance didn't include insurance agents.
They were able to return calls and obtain completed enrollment
requests up through midnight local time on Saturday, Dec. 10. This only accounted for activities which were initiated on Dec. 7 or earlier and does not apply to insurance agents.