Mid-week update

The Federal Times reports that yesterday OPM issued a proposed rule implementing a phased retirement program recently authorized by Congress. In phased retirement, the phased annuitant would continue to work 50% of the time and keep on earning proportionate pension credits. The article explains that

Phased retirees would still get health benefits under the Federal
Employee Health Benefits Program, and would still be enrolled in the
Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program, and would be considered
as full-time employees. That means that employees’ agencies would pay
the full-time share of their FEHBP premiums, and FEGLI benefit coverage
amounts would be based on the full-time salary for their positions.

This means that if the phased annuitant is over age 65, the FEHB plan coverage will remain primary to Medicare coverage until the phased annuitant decides to fully retire. The public comment deadline is August 5, 2013.

OPM has been encouraging plans to adopt patient centered medical homes. Carefirst announced today that

In the second-year (2012) of one of the nation’s earliest, large-scale Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) programs, health care costs for 1 million CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) members covered by the effort were $98 million less than the company projected. The results represent a savings of 2.7 percent on the total projected 2012 health care costs for PCMH-covered members and improve upon the 1.5 percent savings against projected costs registered by the program in 2011.

Mazaal tov.  On a related note, the benefits consulting firm Aon Hewitt released the results of an employer survey today finding that

Thirty-one percent of employers said they decrease or increase health care vendor compensation based on specific performance targets, and another 44 percent are considering doing so in the next three-to-five years. Additionally, while just 14 percent of employers currently use integrated delivery models, including patient-centered medical homes, to improve primary care effectiveness, another 61 percent plan to do so in the next few years.

Finally, in a long awaited development, the Internal Revenue Service has released a version of the Form 720 that health plans and health insurers can use to pay the PCORI fee. Here is a link to the Form and to the related Instructions. The payment date for calendar year plans is July 31. The fee in 2012 was $1 per covered bellybutton, and it’s $2 this year.

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