Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mid-week Miscellany

  • On May 12, Rep. Henry Waxman (D Calif), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Danny Davis (D Ill.), chairman of the Committee's Federal Workforce Subcommittee, sent letters to OPM Director Linda Springer and Acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems asking for an explanation of why approximately 200,000 federal annuitants covered by the FEHB Program are enrolled in Medicare Part D and why FEHB plans are not coordinating benefits with Medicare Part D. The representatives requested a reply by Friday May 16.

    It's my understanding that many of these annuitants are so-called dual eligibles who were automatically enrolled in Medicare Part D because they also are covered under Medicaid. For others, it's a personal choice. As FEHB plans carriers hold the insurance risk for their plans, they have every reason to coordinate benefits with Medicare.

  • HHS's Office for Civil Rights, which is responsible for the HIPAA Privacy Rule, has created a web page of compliance and enforcement statistics.

  • A Medco study concludes that 51% of insured Americans regularly take at least one drug for a chronic health condition according to this AP report.

  • Modern Healthcare Online reports that
    Average annual medical costs increased by 7.6%, or $1,109, for the typical American family of four from 2007 to 2008, according to the fourth annual Milliman Medical Index. The rate of increase was lower than the previous year—8.4%—and also represented the lowest rate of the past five years, according to the index.

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