Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Update / Miscellany

  • OPM has released an request for proposals to fill the government wide indemnity benefit plan slot in the FEHB Program that has been vacant for nearly 20 years. Aetna was the indemnity benefit plan carrier from the Program's inception in 1960 through 1989. OPM is seeking to fill the slot for the 2010 contract year. Attachment 1 to the RFP includes interesting FEHBP demographic data for you statistical mavens.
  • The Senate Finance Committee held a health information technology hearing on July 17. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office blogs about his testimony here.
  • HHS Secretary Leavitt blogged about his reflections on the enactment of the Medicare fix bill. On the bright side, CMS announced on July 15 "payment of more than $36 million in bonus payments to many of the more than 56,700 health professionals who satisfactorily reported quality information to Medicare under the 2007 Physician Quality Reporting
    Initiative (PQRI)."
  • The Wall Street Journal reported last week that "the number of prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies in the U.S. is growing at its worst rate in at least a decade as consumers are squeezed by both a troubled economy and the growing burden of out-of-pocket health-care costs." Preliminary data indicate that the number of prescriptions dropped in the second quarter for the first time since 1994. "In May, branded medicines accounted for 30.6% of treatments dispensed, down from 45.9% in 2003, according to IMS." This change could be attributable to the push to generics lead by Medicare Part D and commercial health plans. It's also hard to locate the Goldilocks point because of all the direct to consumer advertising.

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