Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mid-week update

This morning, a House appropriations subcommittee approved the committee's leadership's version of the financial services and general government appropriations bill by voice vote along party lines. No FEHBP surprises. The next step is the full committee.

The FEHBlog realized today that he should have provided links to Prof. Tim Jost's accounts of the HHS final rule implementing PHSA Sec. 1557 and the EEOC's final rules concerning application of Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, assuming readers what more information.  HHS's PHSA Sec. 1557 rule is a particularly complex and burdensome rule which the FEHBlog has heard described as "catnip to the plaintiff's bar."  The FEHBlog looks forward to reading OPM's take on the extent to which this rule applies to the FEHBP. The underlying law applies to the FEHBP and HHS encourage its fellow agencies to promulgate implementing rules for their own health programs and activities.

Beckers Hospital Review reports on a Centers for Disease Control population survey of health information technology use.  The survey highlight is that" the gap between how much the over 65 crowd uses health IT compared to younger generations isn't so large — 33 percent, compared to 54.8 percent."

The consulting firm Milliman issued its 2016 Medical Index which concludes that in 2016, the cost of healthcare for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is $25,826." There always are many interesting tidbits to be found in the report. In that regard, it's worth noting that FEHB plan carriers are putting the finishing touches on their 2017 benefit and rate proposals which must be submitted to OPM by next Tuesday May 31.

Following up on Sunday's FEHBlog post, Fierce Healthpayer reports that Anthem's CEO Joseph Swedish, [s]peaking at the UBS Global Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, acknowledged [that his company and its merger partner Cigna] have experienced an expected degree of 'dynamic tension,' noting that 'quite frankly, along the way you hit these bumps, but we're going to overcome this.' Swedish said the companies are collaborating closely as they go through the regulatory process, which he described as having 'a very, very long tail to it.'"

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