Friday, August 23, 2019


Fedsmith reports that OPM has announced that this year's Federal Benefits Open Season will take place from Monday November 11 through Monday December 9, 2019.  This is time when federal and postal employees and annuitants can make changes to their FEHBP and FEDVIP coverage for 2020 and employees can enroll for a flexible spending account (FSAFeds) for 2020.

"Willis Towers Watson's Rx Collaborative, an employer-based pharmacy benefit group purchasing coalition, disclosed in a statement to HR Dive that 40% of its total drug costs were spent on specialty drugs that accounted for less than 1% of its prescriptions in 2018. It also noted that the top 10 drugs by cost made up a fifth of its pharmacy spend that year. * * * The coalition reported a steady decrease in drug price inflation rates over the last three years: 3.5% in 2018, 4.2% in 2017 and 6.8% in 2016."

According to Health IT Analytics, "Sixty percent of healthcare executives are using predictive analytics within their organizations, according to a recent survey from the Society of Actuaries (SOA), and 20 percent of payers and providers plan to begin using predictive analytics within the next year."

Health Data Management reports that "The American Academy of Family Physicians and Health Level Seven International are teaming on a new project to improve the interoperability of social determinants of health data.The Gravity Project, part of HL7’s program to accelerate the adoption of its Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), is meant to standardize medical codes to support the use of SDOH-related data in patient care, care coordination, population health management, value-based payment as well as clinical research."

Finally Prof. Timothy Jost offers his overview of current Affordable Care Act litigation.  The FEHBlog finds it interesting that while litigation opposing the Trump Administration's association health plan and short term limited duration health plan initiatives, no litigation has arisen as yet opposing the Trump Administration's more recent individual coverage health reimbursement arrangement initiative. The ACA regulators have estimated that once employer become familiar with this rule, 800,000 employers may take advantage of it by 2029 which would result in 11,000,000 more Americans with individual coverage.

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