Mid-week Miscellany

  • Asparity Decision Solutions, which sponsors the Plansmartchoice tool to compare FEHB plans, announced today that nine FEHB plans had Nine (9) plans achieved a five-point overall performance rating this year, as determined by the PlanSmartChoice Plus rating system. These plans represent a mix of national, regional, and closed plans:
    • National Plans: APWU Health Plan (CDHP, Standard), GEHA High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP, High), NALC (FFS, High), and SAMBA (FFS, Standard)
    • Regional Plans: BCBS Service Benefit Plan (HDHP, Standard), Kaiser Health Plan of Georgia (HMO, High), Kaiser Health Plan of California (HMO, High), and Health America Pennsylvania (HDHP, High)
    • Closed Plans: Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FFS, High)
  • It’s interesting that five of the ten fee for service plan carriers received the top ranking.

  • The AMA continues it jihad against health plans today by filing a class action against Wellpoint based on the ludicrous allegation that Wellpoint and Ingenix / United Healthcare were in league to underpay out of network doctors. The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court in Los Angeles. According to a Business Insurance report,

    In response to the suit, WellPoint said in a statement that it “is committed to providing appropriate reimbursement for out-of-network services. We are in the process of reviewing the complaint and are unable to comment further at this time.”

  • The Watson Wyatt consulting firm and the National Business Group on Health published the results of a survey of 489 large employer on employer sponsored health care coverage. I was struck by these findings —
  • Employers continue to monitor costs by conducting dependent eligibility audits. While 47 percent did so in 2007, that number increased to 54 percent in 2008. This year, 61 percent of companies conduct dependent audits.
  • Health savings accounts (HSAs) are currently offered by 34 percent of companies. By 2010, that number is expected to increase to 43 percent. Health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) are offered by 21 percent today, and only 3 percent plan to add one next year.
  • On the electronic health record (EHR) front, Government Health IT News reports on a study finding an “abysmally low” rate of EMR adoption at non-federal government hospitals. “Fewer than 8 percent of hospitals have EHRs in even one clinical department, and only 1.5 percent have EHRs for all clinical departments, the researchers reported in today’s online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.” Even with the stimulus law funding, we have a long way to go.