TGIF

Here it is September 26. According to OPM.gov, OPM released the next year’s premiums on September 26, 2011 (for 2012), September 20, 2012 (for 2013), and September 24, 2013 (for this year). It appears that the 2015 premiums won’t be released until at least September 29, 2014. This allows the FEHBlog an opportunity to vent about his own health insurance premiums. His firm’s carrier kindly renewed coverage on December 1, 2013, to allow me one last year before ACA rating kicked in. The FEHBlog received his December 1, 2014, renewal rates this week. A 58% increase. It turns out that for small group each family member is age rated and because my wife and I are around the same age BANG ZOOM as Jackie Gleason would have said. The FEHBlog is exploring options such as a high deductible plan with an HSA. In this regard, the FEHBlog notes this Business Insurance report that employers in anticipation of the imposition of the Cadillac tax in 2014 are attempting to integrate their high deductible health plan offerings with voluntary (employee pay all) offerings such as hospital indemnity and critical illness coverage.

J.D. Powers came out today with its annual customer satisfaction study on brick and mortar pharmacies broken out by supermarket (the winner was Publix), chain drug store (Good Neighbor), and mass merchandiser (Sam’s Club).  Walgreens was rated above average and CVS Health below average in the study.

In an interesting but not particularly surprising development, the ranks of original participants in Medicare’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations has dropped from 32 to 19  according to this Wall Street Journal story. Here’s the punch line:

Chas Roades, chief of research at the Advisory Board Co., said that while ACOs did give hospital systems experience in managing population health, many are finding that Medicare Advantage programs or ACOs with commercial insurers are more advantageous.
“The [original Medicare] ACO program is just too complex—there are too many quality metrics to track, and the incentives aren’t strong enough, so they’re moving forward with other coordinated care strategies,” he said.

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