Q. I keep seeing television advertisements for Medicare plans that seem too good to be true. Are they? Also, we received a postcard invitation to attend a free seminar regarding insurance and financial planning. Are these programs sponsored by legitimate insurers or financial planners?

A. It depends. Some of the Medicare products being marketed on television are misleading to consumers. I encourage consumers to schedule a time to meet with a trained counselor from the WySHIIP program, operated through Wyoming Senior Citizens, Inc. This is a free service and can help consumers determine what plans and products are legitimate as well as helping consumers review their Medicare plans during Open Enrollment. People purchasing health insurance on the Marketplace can call Wyoming 2-1-1 and talk with a trained Navigator or enrollment Specialist.

Regarding the free seminars or marketing meals-- While some fully licensed and reputable companies host marketing events like this, all too often, the Department of Insurance hears about questionable marketing practices being used in these “free” meal seminars. In other words, some are legitimate and some are questionable. Medicare Part D (prescriptions) and Medicare Advantage plans are prohibited from using this marketing approach. If you choose to attend, I encourage you to be a smart consumer and follow these guidelines:

1. Research the company or presenter. Know if they are licensed in Wyoming or merely marketing a product that does not require a license to be sold.

2. Protect your personal information. Don’t provide personal information and don’t sign up for anything at the seminar.

3. Make certain the product or services meet the needs of you and your family.

4. Don’t give in to high pressure sales or marketing. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Time pressure to purchase insurance or financial products is often a red flag for consumers.

5. Ask questions and clearly understand the product or services being sold.

6. If you suspect fraud or scam marketing practices, contact the DOI.

Jeff Rude, Wyoming Insurance Commissioner


Jeffrey P. Rude


Q. Can the Department of Insurance provide an opinion whether an insurer is engaging in rebating or improper promotional or marketing activities?

A. If you are an insurer or producer, you can submit a detailed written proposal to the department for review. Please allow reasonable time for a review to be completed before instituting a program that might be considered a violation of state law.

Below are the applicable Wyoming statutes:

W.S. § 26-13-102. Unfair methods and deceptive acts prohibited.

No person shall engage in this state in any trade practice which is defined in this article as or is determined pursuant to this article to be an unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance.

W.S. § 26-13-110. Rebates and favors as to life, disability and annuity contracts prohibited.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall:

(i) Knowingly permit or offer to make or make any contract of life insurance, life annuity or disability insurance, or agreement as to that contract other than as expressed in the contract issued thereon;

(ii) Pay, allow or give or offer to pay, allow or give in any manner as inducement to the insurance or annuity:

(A) Any rebate of premiums payable on the contract;

(B) Any special favor or advantage in the dividends or other benefits thereon;

(C) Any paid employment or contract for services of any kind; or

(D) Any valuable consideration or inducement not specified in the contract.

(iii) In any manner give, sell or purchase or offer or agree to give, sell, purchase or allow as inducement to the insurance or annuity or in connection therewith, and whether or not to be specified in the policy or contract, any agreement of any form or nature promising:

(A) Returns and profits;

(B) Any stocks, bonds or other securities, or interest present or contingent therein or as measured thereby, of any insurer or other corporation, association or partnership; or

(C) Any dividends or profits accrued or to accrue thereon.

W.S. § 26-13-112. Unfair discrimination, rebates and favors prohibited for property, casualty and surety insurers.

(a) No property, casualty or surety insurer or any employee or representative thereof, and no broker or agent shall pay, allow or give, or offer to pay, allow or give, in any manner, as an inducement to insurance, or after insurance has been effected, any valuable consideration or inducement of any kind not specified or provided for in the policy, except to the extent provided for in an applicable filing with the commissioner as provided by law.