Weekend update

Happy Independence Day! The Congress is in recess until next week.

The next Affordable Care Act implementing regulation will be the “Interim Final Rules for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Coverage of Preventive Services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” which according to reginfo.gov, is currently receiving Office of Management and Budget review. I understand that the rule governing the Affordable Care Act’s internal and external disputed claim procedures is waiting to step into the on deck circle. Both sets of regulations apply to plans which remain grandfathered under the recently issued regulations.

Last week, on June 30, the Federal Workforce subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the federal government’s use of temporary employees.  The Federal Times reports that

The federal government employs about 180,000 temporary workers, and is unsure how many lack health insurance. Those workers can purchase health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program after they have completed one year of temporary service, but the government does not pay for any portion of the premiums. Temporary workers are also ineligible for federal life insurance or retirement benefits.

The federal government needs to better understand how many of its temporary workers lack health care coverage, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said.

Angela Bailey, deputy associate director for recruitment and diversity at the Office of Personnel Management, said current law prevents the government from offering full FEHBP benefits to temporary workers.

Finally, last week URAC released preliminary results of an ongoing survey of medical management practices.  The URAC press release explains that “Preliminary results from a new survey by URAC, a national leader in health care accreditation, reveals that the medical management industry is continuing to focus resources on health information technology, but the ability of consumers to access their information on-line remains low due to the cost of developing appropriate web-portals and other business and security-related concerns.”

“We’re not unsympathetic to this issue,” Bailey said. “We would be more than willing to work with the subcommittee with regard to health benefits for these federal employees.”