Tuesday Tidbits

Well we are less than two weeks away from the deadline imposed on FEHB plan carriers for submitting their 2016 benefit and rate proposals to OPM. It’s a busy time for carriers.

Fierce Health Finance reports that “The latest price data from the Altarum Institute indicate hospital prices rose 0.4 percent in March compared to March 2014, an increase Altarum referred to as “scant.” For the entire healthcare sector, prices rose 1.3 percent year-over-year.”  Over the same period, the CPI-U for all items declined by 0.1%.  So that’s a significant jump in healthcare.

Drug Channels reports that the drug store industry is maintaining a steady profit margin.

In an bit of good news, Health Day reports that due to the work of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force fewer men are undergoing the PSA screening test for prostate cancer. The USPSTF has concluded that the test creates more problems than it solves and doctors are accepting this recommendation.

Healthcare Finance reports that the incoming AMA President Steven Stack has not thrown in the towel on his effort to kill the ICD-10 coding system which is scheduled to take effect October 1. Health Data Management reports on a bill to expand ICD-10 testing and create an 18 month transition period (HR 2247).  CMS is planning on a clean break. We shall see.