Tuesday Tidbits

The Wall Street Journal reports today on health care innovations. It’s a good read. There’s an interesting story about free Web 2.0 tools that can help people stay healthy such as The Carrot and Keas. Both of these sites are designed to help people quit smoking — expanded smoking cessation programs are a required 2011 benefit in the FEHB Program.

The New York Times reports on the Congressional Research Service report mentioned in Sunday’s FEHBlog which finds that Congress created problems for itself with the PPACA, which is the acronym for the health care legislation (pronounced “PEA-pack”). Yesterday, according to Govexec.com, Congress passed the first, but certainly not the last, technical correction to PPACA which concerns TRICARE, not our beloved FEHB Program.

Business Insurance reports that the Senate is close to approving a bill (H.R. 4851) which retroactively will extend the COBRA/TCC subsidy program and the moratorium on the 21% cut on Medicare Part B payments to doctors from April 1 through April 30, 2010. 

Business Insurance also reports that the Health and Human Services Department is readying the claim forms that employers can use to tap into PPACA’s temporary reinsurance program for plans which cover early retirees (aged 55 to 64).  The White House released a fact sheet on the program yesterday.  According to Business Insurance, “Congress allocated $5 billion for the program, which will begin June 23 of this year and end Jan. 1, 2014. However, unless Congress authorizes additional funding, the $5 billion fund is expected to be exhausted quickly.”  Yes, indeed.