Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday's Tidbits

As predicted in Sunday's FEHBlog, the Health and Human Services Department ("HHS") released today a proposed rule implementing the Affordable Act provision authorizing HHS to review unreasonable health insurance premium increases (defined to be an increase of 10% or more). HHS is applying the requirement only to policies issued in the individual and small employer markets (1 to 50 employees). Consequently, the FEHB Program is exempt from this review requirement, which makes sense.

Govexec.com reports that Congress passed a continuing resolution funding the federal government through March 4, 2011. "The measure begins a two-year pay freeze for federal civilian employees that President Obama sought."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers useful Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare websites. These sites allow you to compare the quality of care and pricing at facilities across the country. What's more the quality information is based on all patient data, not just Medicare eligible patient data. The FEHBlog learned this week that the Affordable Care Act requires CMS to create a Physician Compare website effective January 1, 2011. Government Health IT reports that
Initially, CMS will post information about physicians enrolled in the Medicare program and those participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), through which CMS pays incentives for providers who meet various quality marks. CMS will add in January 2013 physician performance information based on 2012 quality reporting it receives. 
PwC, the consulting firm, released a report identifying the top health industry issues for 2011, including  health information technology, ACOs, and mergers and acquistions.

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