Friday, August 01, 2014


It is a pleasant day here in the Nation's capital. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R CA) assumes the House Majority Leader from Eric Cantor (R VA) today and Rep. Steve Scalise (R LA) replaces Mr. McCarthy as Majority Whip. 

Yesterday, HHS issued a final rule setting as expected October 1, 2015, as the ICD-10 coding rule compliance date. Congress earlier this year had forced HHS to push back this compliance date from October 1, 2014, to at least October 1, 2015. HHS went with the earliest date which in the FEHBlog's view is misguided because a January 1 switc hover would fit better for calendar year health plans.

The Milliman actuarial consulting firm issued a report on the impact the new high priced Hepatitis C therapy will have on Medicare Part D.
We estimate that the cost of new HCV drug therapies , including Sovaldi and Olysio, will increase 2015 federal spending on the individual Medicare Part D program by approximately $2.9 billion to $5.8 billion. This is equivalent to a 6% to 11% increase in federal Part D spending or approximately $100 to $200 per Medicare Part D beneficiary per year.
We estimate that the cost of HCV drug therapies will increase total annual individual Medicare Part D beneficiary premiums by $481 million to $965 million in 2015. This is equivalent to a 4.3% to 8.6% increase over 2014 beneficiary premiums or an additional $17 to $33 per beneficiary per year. 
The FEHBlog would not be surprised to see the drug therapy have a similar impact on the FEHBP.

BenefitsPro reports on a new Blue Cross study concluding that consumer driven health plans are less costly and more efficient than traditional plans.

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