Friday, April 27, 2012


On Wednesday, the Senate passed its postal reform bill (S. 1789).  Section 104 of the bill would allow the Postal Service an opportunity to negotiate a separate Postal Service health plan with its Unions. The debate now moves onto the House of Representatives.

Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a business meeting to find budget cuts as an alternative to the Defense Department sequestrations otherwise required by last August's budget control act.  According to the Washington Post's Federal Eye
Democrats raised but ultimately withdrew amendments seeking to centralize prescription drug purchasing in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and seeking to delete tax breaks for high-income individuals under the House budget plan.
As many experts have pointed out, this effort to move prescription drug contracting from the carriers to OPM is ill advised.

Yesterday, as Bloomberg reports, the federal judge hearing the trade associations' anti-trust challenge to the no-completed  Medco -- Express Script merger denied the associations' motion for a preliminary injunction tha would somehow unscramble the egg. The judge's decision was no surprise to the FEHBlog.

Finally, yesterday the IRS released the following Affordable Care Act related Notices

Minimum Value

On April 26, 2012, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2012-31, which provides information and requests public comment on an approach to determining whether an eligible employer-sponsored health plan provides minimum value. Starting in 2014, whether such a plan provides minimum value will be relevant to eligibility for the premium tax credit and application of the employer shared responsibility payment. Comments may be submitted in writing on or before June 11, 2012. 

Information Reporting on Health Insurance Coverage

On April 26, 2012, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notices 2012-32 and 2012-33, which invite comments to help inform the development of guidance on annual information reporting related to health insurance coverage. The information reporting is to be provided by health insurance issuers, certain employers that sponsor self-insured plans, government agencies and certain other parties that provide health insurance coverage. The notices provide instructions on how to submit comments.

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