Friday, April 06, 2012


The Baltimore Sun reported on the oral argument presented to a panel of U.S Court of Appeals judges in Boston on Wednesday. At issue was the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act which prohibits the FEHBP from covering same sex spouses. "Gay rights advocates said they were cheered by the tone of the argument. The three judges asked relatively few questions during the hourlong argument, but the most skeptical questions were directed to attorney Paul Clement, * * * who is defending the federal law on behalf of House Republicans." The FEHBlog agrees with the article's conclusion that this case is headed to the Supreme Court.

Business Insurance reported on an important annual study issued by IMS Health on national prescription drug spending. The IMS Health report finds that prescription drug spending increased 3.7% to $320 billion while per capita prescription drug use dropped 1.1% and doctor's office visits dropped by 4.7%. The AMA News continues to fret about this drop in doctors visits. There was a jump last year in new drug approvals (34) and older drugs shifting to generic status.

The AMA News article discusses a Willis survey of 2300 employers concerning the impact of Affordable Care Act compliance:
While only about a quarter of the responding employers have quantified the cost of compliance within their health plans, a majority (nearly 56 percent) of those employers said the cumulative cost amounted to an increase in cost; over 15 percent noted that the cost increase was between two and five percent, and over 15 percent said that the cost increase was more than five percent. Employers report that their most significant cost drivers are the provision of adult child coverage up to age 26 and the removal of the annual/lifetime limits for “essential health benefits.”
Finally USA Today reports this morning that "A new report shows costs vary as much as 700% for some preventive examinations, and as the federal health care law increases demand for those procedures, it can mean an increase in premiums if employees don't pay attention to those costs."  Keep your eye on the bouncing ball. Happy Passover!

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