Open Season Dates Announced

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced yesterday that this year’s Federal Benefits Open Season, which runs from Monday, November 8, 2010 through Monday, December 13, 2010. The Open Season allows federal and postal employees and annuitants to select a different FEHB or FEDVIP plan or change a FedFlex option for 2011.  Beginning in 2011, the Open Season will be the month of November.

Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule implementing the HITECH Act’s nationwide notice of unsecured protected health information breach rule. HHS solicited comments on the interim final rule and on May 14, 2010, HHS submitted a “final” final rule for Office of Management and Budget review, the final step before publication in the Federal Register. Today, HHS announced today that it had withdraw that final final rule from OMB consideration.”for further consideration, given the Department’s experience to date in administering the regulations.” The FEHBlog finds this development unsettling.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Americans are consuming less health care services. This was an objective of consumer driven health care which came into vogue about eight yeears ago when the IRS approved healthcare reimbursement arrangements. Consumer driven health care gives people a financial incentive to control their health care spending and the know how to do it through the internet and other tools. The FEHBlog finds this development encouraging.