Tuesday’s Tidbits

Fierce Healthcare reports that “Hospitals need to be on the hook for “higher leverage” safety measures if the Department of Health and Human Services’ wants its Hospital Compare website to ever be taken seriously. At present, the site–created to help patients pick the best facility for them based on various hospital statistics–is proving unhelpful for Medicare patients who need risky surgeries, according to a report published this week in the Archives of Surgery.”

CNN Money reports on the ongoing National Association of Insurance Commissioners meeting which is finalizing guidance to the Health and Human Services Secretary on implementation of the minimum medical loss ratio provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In the FEHBlog’s view, FEHB Program fee for service plans will have no problem satisfying the law’s 85% minimum loss ratio requirement for large group health plans. In any event, the ratio calculation and any resulting rebate will occur at the state level according to the guidance under consideration. The Politico Pulse is attending the conference and provides updates each morning. Once the NAIC finalizes its guidance, the HHS Secretary will prepare an interim final regulation.

The Federal Times reports about the federal government’s new anti-trust lawsuit filed against non-profit health insurer Blue Cross of Michigan. The lawsuit challenges the health insurer’s practice of negotiating so-called most favored nation pricing clauses in its hospital contracts. Blue Cross stated in a press release that 

Negotiated hospital discounts are a tool that Blue Cross uses to protect the affordability of health insurance for millions of Michiganders,” said Andrew Hetzel, BCBSM vice president for corporate communications. “Through this lawsuit, the federal government seeks to deny millions of Michigan residents the lowest cost possible when they visit the hospital.”

The American Medical Association has been pushing for this type of action.

Finally the FEHBlog wants to call to your attention the fact that OPM has refreshed its Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program website