Weekend Update

Happy Halloween!  We are now a week away from the 2010 Federal Benefits Open Season . OPM has fired up its Open Season page on Facebook for the second year. Govexec.com predicts a “robust” open season. The Federal Times has a column with Open Season background.

The regulatory agencies implementing the Affordable Care Act (Labor Department, Health and Human Services Department, and the IRS) issued three new frequently asked questions and answers on Friday. The FAQs while noteworthy are not particularly relevant to the FEHB Program.

HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality solicited public comment on the development of a National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan (“National Quality Strategy”). BNA provided links to the comments submitted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association, which are worth reading.

The Brookings Institution recently held a conference about the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation created by the Affordable Care Act.  According to BNA, CMS Administrator Donald Berwick referred to the CMI as the “jewel in the crown” of the new law “because projects launched by the center hold the promise of lowering health care costs while increasing quality.” Hope springs eternal.

Healthcare IT News reports that  “Anthem Blue Cross has announced the launch of a new website in California designed to provide reliable, up-to-the-minute information to women about health issues specific to them.” Here’s a link to the new site.