Friday, June 22, 2012


It's not a usual Friday for the FEHBlog because it's the end of the beach week but it's a Friday nonetheless.

The Supreme Court did not issue its healthcare decision yesterday but it is expected to do so next week -- likely on Monday. While that is the last scheduled decision day of this term, the Court can create an additional decision day.

The American Medical Association, which is holding its annual meeting this week, issued its fifth annual health insurer report card. Piling chutzpah on top of chutzpah, the AMA, which typically objects to rating doctors, takes credit for reducing an unbelievably high error rate found in last year's survey. AHIP responded

‘Health plans and providers share the responsibility of improving the accuracy and efficiency of claims payment,’ AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach wrote in an email to MedPage. Health plans are doing their part by collaborating with providers and investing in new technologies to improve the process for submitting claims electronically and receiving payments quickly. At the same time, more work needs to be done to reduce the number of claims submitted to health plans that are duplicative, inaccurate, or delayed,’ Zirkelbach wrote.”
In other words, take the log out of your eye, AMA, first.

Standard & Poors issued its monthly healthcare index report yesterday.  The cost curves continue to point up.

As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans increased by 8.46% over the year ending April 2012, up from the +7.78% reported for March 2012. Growth rates in Medicare claim costs rose by 2.60%, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, up from March’s +2.42%.  The Professional Services Index annual growth rate also increased from its March 2012 +5.58% rate to April’s +6.18%. The Hospital Index annual growth rate increased to +5.81% in April, from its +5.44% March rate.

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