Mid week update

According to the Wall Street Journal and other press reports, Congress is working on a omnibus appropriations bill that would fund the federal government though the end of the current fiscal year (9-30-2015) with the exception of the Homeland Security Department which is responsible for implementing the President’s executive orders on immigration. The current continuing resolution funding the federal government expires next Thursday December 11. The FEHBlog is confident that there will not be a full or partial federal government shutdown this go around.

According to the Hill, the House of Representatives by a wide bi-partisan margin passed a bill today that will allow the creation of tax free savings accounts for disabled people to use for health care and vocational expenses similar to IRAs.

In a troubling report from highroads.com a benefits consult predicts that the ACA regulators will make significant complicated changes, such as adding new coverage examples, to the ACA’s summary of benefits and coverage for 2016. The format of the SBCs which the NAIC designed has been left alone by and large since its introduction for the 2012 benefit year. The FEHBlog is not sure how much they are used by consumers. The FEHBlog recommends that Congress require doctors and hospitals to disclose to consumers such important factors as the provider networks to which they belong. It drives the FEHBlog nuts that insurers get shellacked for unreliable provider directories when the most current information should come from the provider of care.

In a bit of good news, Health Data Management reports a big drop in hospital acquired conditions / never events over the period 2010 through 2013 according to an ARQH study. It is good to see the provider community pull together and start correcting this problem.