Because Congress has recessed for the upcoming week, this week's exciting event surely will be the FEHB Plan Carrier Conference sponsored by OPM and America's Health Insurance Plans. Right around the time of the conference, OPM issues its annual "call letter" to carriers. The call letter initiates the benefit and rate renewal process for the next year. Benefit and rate proposals according to OPM's regulations must be submitted by the end of May.
In 2008, several FEHBP annuitant enrollees who were over 65 sued the Department of Health and Human Services in the federal district court here in D.C. to decouple Medicare Part A from Social Security benefits. The plaintiffs wanted primary coverage under their FEHB plans but HHS ruled that they could not refuse Medicare Part A without forfeiting their Social Security benefits. Last week, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer entered summary judgment for the government. The Court in its opinion concluded that Medicare Part A coverage is statutorily mandated for Social Security recipients.
The Washington Post reported on a trend that the FEHBlog has noticed -- health insurers are expanding outside of their core businesses in the wake of the Affordable Care Act. No doubt this sensible trend will continue.