Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Tomorrow marks 15 months after the last day (May 31, 2010) that unemployed people could become eligible for the federal subsidy covering  65% of COBRA continuation coverage (or in the FEHBP TCC) premiums, a program that began in 2009. Because the subsidy last for 15 months, the subsidy generally will be sunsetting tomorrow. The Labor Department has posted FAQs about this change.

Health Data Management has posted a slide show on the bundled payment initiatives that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced to health care providers last week. Meanwhile Kaiser Health News reports on a newly published study that casts doubt on the efficacy of accountable care organizations and a recent survey that indicates that employees don't have much stomach for health plan changes such as narrow networks that would generate lower premiums. Time will tell.

On the health care fraud front, the Federal Times reports that "New government statistics show federal health-care fraud prosecutions in the first eight months of 2011 are on pace to rise 85 percent over last year due in large part to ramped-up enforcement efforts under the Obama administration." The FEHBlog is in the process of rewatching the Sopranos on HBO GO, and the early episodes of that program makes it clear that health care fraud was around in 1999. Also the AMA News raises the alarm that an Affordable Care Act initiative is causing CMS gradually to send out "revalidation requests by mail to more than 1.4 million health professionals -- more than half of whom are doctors -- between now and March 23, 2013,"  According to the article, this revalidation process is cumbersome and time consuming and may be overkill at least with respect to doctors. The industry-supported Council for Affordable Quality Care has a common credentialling database for private sector health plans to reduce these headaches.

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