Second, CMS seems to have changed its policy about announcing suspensions. Campaign Desk is pleased to see this new transparency. When WellPoint got in trouble, the agency gave the story to selected reporters. A short while later, when the agency cited WellCare, it didn’t widely promote its actions. Then we urged CMS to circulate its announcements far and wide, because news gathering staffs have shrunk and the story might be missed.

CMS spokesman Peter Ashkenaz said that Medicare beneficiaries “need to know they are not alone” when things go wrong with their insurance: “They need help and they need to know where to go.” Since the media have been AWOL on this one, here’s where they can call for assistance or to complain about shoddy marketing practices: 1-800-633-4227. Media, take note: This is news-you-can-use 101!

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.