Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OPM has unveiled its 2013 Federal Benefits Open Season webpage. The site includes a link to another webpage full of Open Season resources for the FEHBP, FEDVIP, and FSAFeds.  The Federal Daily staff also offered its thoughts on preparing for Open Season.

Modern reports that "Without hesitation, Dr. Allan Korn, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's chief medical officer and senior vice president for clinical affairs, declared that the patient-centered medical home has the potential to transform the U.S. healthcare system."  The article quotes Dr. Korn as remarking that the Blues plans no longer can be considered to be piloting PCMH's because 5.3 members (about 5% of all members) participate in the programs which focus on primary care and are intended to better coordinate all medical care.

The FEHBlog has noted that concerns have been raised in the press that hospitals may be using their government funded electronic healthcare technology to boost Medicare reimbursements. Modern Healthcare reports that "Hospitals using electronic health records have until Friday to complete a [54 question long] survey from HHS' inspector general's office asking myriad questions about how they use their EHR systems—questions that come at a time when critics have accused the industry of using the programs to increase revenue."

Speaking of health care costs, last week, Standard and Poors released its August 2012 healthcare cost index report.

The average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 5.70% over the 12-months ending August 2012. This is a deceleration from the +6.15% annual growth rate recorded in July 2012.
As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans increased by 7.81% over the year ending August 2012, down from the +8.36% reported for July 2012. Annual growth rates in Medicare claim costs rose by 2.48%, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, down from the +2.79% recorded in July 2012. The Professional Services Index annual growth rate was +6.67% in August 2012, down from the +6.95% July 2012 print. The Hospital Index’s growth rate fell to +4.54% in August from +5.11% recorded in July 2012.

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