Friday, November 22, 2013


The FEHBlog still has not been able to find a news report on the IRS hearing held last Tuesday about the minimum essential reporting requirements imposed on insurers and self insured employers by new IRC § 6055. The FEHBlog is sure that it was not a spine tingling event, but he does expect to hear a public outcry when insurers and employers start demanding dependent SSN's required for these reports.  The FEHBlog found the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's comments which made the following salient points:
Employers should be permitted to provide only the social security number of the employee subscriber and not the social security number of every relevant family member. With this information, Treasury and the IRS would be able to identify and determine the proper social security numbers of covered dependents listed based on income tax returns and, alternatively with the assistance of the Social Security Administration based on other the information provided by employers such as the name and date of birth of the covered family members. 
Unfortunately, yhe FEHBlog does not expect such common sense to prevail here.

Health Day reports on a new CDC report concerning health disparities in the U.S. On the bright side, public health is improving but work still needs to be done. 

Key findings include the following:
  • A dramatic drop occurred in the rate of teen births -- by 18 percent from 2007 to 2010, with significant decreases seen among whites, blacks and Hispanics. There was substantial variation across states, from no significant change to a 30 percent reduction in Arizona.
  • Hispanics, low wage earners, those with only a high school education, men and those born outside the United States are those most likely to take high-risk jobs -- jobs where workers are likely to be injured or sickened.
  • Binge drinking is more common among people aged 18 to 34, men, whites and people with higher household incomes.
  • Despite a 58 percent drop in new cases of tuberculosis between 1992 and 2010, the disease remains disproportionately high among racial and ethnic minorities and those born outside the United States.
  • Diabetes rates are higher among Hispanics and blacks than among Asians and whites. Higher rates are also seen among people without a college degree and who have lower household incomes.
  • The infant death rate for blacks is more than double the rate for whites. The highest rates are in the South and Midwest.
  • Men are nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than women, regardless of age, race or ethnicity. The highest rates for both men and women are among American Indians/Alaska Natives and whites.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with blacks at least 50 percent more likely to die of heart disease or stroke prematurely than whites.


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