Just another weekday

May 29 is just another weekday for FEHBP carriers because the 2016 benefit and rate proposal must be submitted to OPM no later than this coming Sunday May 31 according to the call letter.

Time marches on though. The Wall Street Journal reports this afternoon that the board of directors of Humana, a major health insurer is considering selling the company to another health insurer such as Aetna or Cigna. Humana which is based in Louisville, KY, focuses on the Medicare market but also is an FEHBP carrier

The Ponemon Institute has released its 2015 study on the cost of data breaches. That’s another cost curve that is headed up. “Over the past year, the cost of data breaches due to malicious or criminal attacks has increased from an average of $159 to $174 per record.”

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released a request for public comment on the future of the HIPAA health plan identifier. HHS pulled the rug out from under this initiative last year and with good reason for doing so. After all electronic claims have been processed for over 15 years without a health plan identifier. The comment deadline is July 28.

A couple months ago, the FEHBlog was doing backflips because the FDA had approved its first biosimilar drug Zarxio for marketing. Zarxio is biosimilar to a brand name cancer supportive drug Neupogen which Amgen manufactures. Yesterday the FEHBlog learned from Business Insurance that earlier this month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of the Zarxio pending an an Amgen appeal of a San Franciso federal district court decision rejected a Amgen patent challenge to Zarxio.  The Federal Circuit will hear oral argument on the appeal next Wednesday June 3. Lowering costs is not easy. But the FEHBlog remains confident that biosimilars will be on the U.S. market soon. After all, biosimilars have been offered in Europe for over a decade.

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