The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is denouncing marketing efforts by insurance companies aimed at shifting the debate over Medicare Advantage. 

In a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont), New Hampshire Commissioner of Insurance and NAIC President Roger Sevigny urged changes to federal law to reign in abusive tactics targeting senior citizens.

"It has come to our attention certain insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans have been contacting policyholders in an apparent attempt to alarm senior citizens about federal health reform efforts," Sevigny wrote. "State insurance commissioners have written and testified on numerous occasions about the deplorable marketing and sales abuses facing Medicare beneficiaries we have witnessed first-hand in the Medicare Advantage marketplace." 

Sevigny charged the marketing efforts are directly tied to excess payments made to Medicare Advantage plans, but noted state regulators were unable to act unless changes are made to federal law. 

"Under the current federal pre-emption, it is unclear what action, if any, states could take against misleading communications made by Medicare Advantage plans," he wrote. "Therefore, in addition to changes to payments to Medicare Advantage plans, we continue to urge you to restore state insurance regulatory authority over Medicare private plans."

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