Sunday, August 25, 2019

Weekend update

Congress is out of town again this week. Both houses will return to Capitol Hill on September 9.  Here's a link to a Washington Post article on four charts which are causing Democratic policitians to rethink Medicare for All.

OPM's latest call letter warned about the risks of e-cigarettes. Wired Magazine provides an update on those concerns,
SOMETIME BETWEEN WEDNESDAY and Friday, an Illinois resident died of an unknown respiratory illness that may have been the result of vaping. The death was one of nearly 200 cases of mysterious respiratory problems across 22 states whose only known link is the recent use of electronic cigarettes, or vapes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC, a federal agency, is now working with state health agencies and the Food and Drug Administration to try and find the cause, part of an investigation launched in mid-August after dozens of people, mostly teenagers and young adults, started showing up in hospitals reporting symptoms including difficulty breathing, fatigue, weight loss, and chest pain. That population has increased to 193 cases, all of whom had vaped in the month prior to their illness. Some were smoking nicotine, others THC or cannabinoids. The victims used different products, and no one ingredient stood out as a potential culprit.
Late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed changes to the so-called Part 2 which creates stricter privacy standards than the HIPAA Privacy Rule for substance use disorder treatment by government funded providers. Fierce Healthcare provides a useful overview of the situation.. The changes are intended to "support better care coordination and reduce provider burden while maintaining privacy safeguards for patients, HHS officials said."

Finally FedSmith helpfully reports on how to carry Federal Employee Dental and Vision Program coverage into retirement.
If you plan to carry dental or vision coverage in retirement, there are several important nuances to make note of. As mentioned earlier, FEDVIP is a different program from FEHB, which means enrollment in FEDVIP for five years prior to retirement does not count as enrollment in FEHB. Unlike FEHB, FEDVIP does not require you to be enrolled in the program for five years prior to retirement. You can even enroll in a vision or dental plan in retirement if you need to. 
To be eligible for FEDVIP in retirement, you must retire on an immediate annuity. If you are receiving a deferred annuity you will not be eligible for retaining your dental and/or vision coverage. If you retire under Minimum Retirement Age+ 10 with a postponed annuity, you will be able to retain FEDVIP in retirement.

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