TGIF

The Federal Benefits Open Season keeps chugging along. The Federal Times offers a lengthy interview with FEHBP Expert Walt Francis. Govexec,com offers a brief interview with the FEHBlog. You choose (or read both).

The Office of Personnel Management today released a proposed rule on its Multi State Program. The MSP offers OPM approved health plans in the ACA marketplaces.

The Mercer consulting firm released the results of its own national survey of large employers regarding health coverage practices. The upshot – even broader use of high deductible, consumer directed plans.

Most employers still offer a CDHP as a choice alongside a traditional PPO or HMO. Just 7% of all large employers, and 11% of jumbo employers, offered a CDHP as the only plan available to employees at their largest worksite in 2014.  While this practice may become more common – 18% of large employers say it’s likely they will offer a CDHP as a full replacement within the next three years – for now it remains the exception 

Of course the status quo is the way the FEHBP operates.

At the recent WEDI conference on privacy and security that the FEHBlog attended last month, speakers emphasized the importance of encrypting computers, particularly mobile devices and PCs used at home. The FEHBlog appreciated the speakers’ common rationale that if an unencrypted computer is stolen from or lost by a HIPAA covered entity or business associate, it’s difficult to prove the negative that no protected health information was contained on the stolen or lost device’s hard drive. The enforcers will assume a breach of unsecured protected health information. Therefore encrypt. Here then is a chilling article from Government Health IT about a the theft of an encrypted cell phone and laptop from a hospital staff member. The thieves demanded and received the passwords from the victim. Ergo, loss of the HIPAA safeguard. Nothing is foolproof.

Finally, here’s a link to a sensible Fierce Healthcare article on how hospitals can avoid unnecessary readmissions. The article illustrates why avoiding readmissions is a hospital management issue. Health plans can help management to reduce premature discharges (which lead to readmissions) with sensible utilization review programs.

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