On October 20, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held its monthly Open Meeting at which it voted to move forward with issuing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to make changes to the Funeral Rule. The next step in the process is for the ANPR to be published in the Federal Register. That is expected to happen in the coming weeks and when it is published, the 60-day comment period will commence.
Issues to be Considered:
The Commission is seeking additional input regarding the following seven topic areas:
(1) whether and how funeral providers should be required to display or distribute their price information online or through electronic media;
(2) whether funeral providers should be required to disclose third party crematory or other fees on the General Price List (GPL);
(3) whether the Rule’s requirements regarding reduced basic services fees should be amended;
(4) whether the Rule should be amended to account for new forms of disposition;
(5) whether the Rule’s embalming disclosure requirements should be amended;
(6) whether the Rule should be changed to improve the readability of the price lists; and
(7) whether changes should be made to the Rule to avoid negatively impacting underserved communities.
The Commission considered other issues as well, such as whether to include cemeteries in the Rule. The Commission in the ANPR decided against expanding the Rule to include cemeteries and stated its position on this issue remains the same – that no evidence of changed circumstances has been submitted that would warrant a fresh look at this issue. Similarly, The Commission will not “re-open” the Rule’s state exemption provision, as requested by some stakeholders. And, with regard to the Funeral Rule Offenders Program (FROP), The Commission indicated it will take comments received during the Rule Review into consideration as it deliberates whether to continue the program, or potentially modify it, as it re-assesses its enforcement program.
ClearPoint will continue to provide updates on the Funeral Rule regulatory process, including when the comment period opens and the comment deadline.