Mid-week update

The FEHBlog is jamming to J.S. Bach’s 3rd Brandenburg Concerto which is playing on Performance Today. It’s a very peppy version so the FEHBlog is in a good mood.

To follow up on the Weekend Update, the FEHBlog overlooked in his list of events that are thirty days out the impending end of the current federal fiscal year on September 30.  The Republicans had hoped to return to the regular order of passing individual appropriation bills,  but the Democrats have another idea. So we are looking at Congress enacting another continuing resolution. The FEHBlog does not anticipate any sort of government shutdown over appropriations, but again he is in a good mood.

The Congressional Research Service recently issued three reports on the high cost plan excise tax a/k/a the Cadillac tax, the Bicycle tax, etc.  One report is a “brief overview” of the tax. Another provides background and economic analysis. The third discusses estimated economic and market effects of the tax. CRS, in the second report, expresses an equity concern that taxing employer sponsored health insurance because large employer sponsored plans have only one rate per family group with each plan.  Therefore the tax would not necessarily be imposed on the value of the health insurance received by the particular taxpayer. Demographic groups could wind up subsidizing other groups. (Hey, CRS that’s the nature of large group health insurance.)  In contrast, under the ACA, individual and small employer plans are priced on the age of the individual employee and family members.  (There’s a battle brewing in Congress now because this pricing approach is supposed to be extended from employers with under 50 employees to employers with under 100 employees next year.)  The FEHBlog’s suggested approach of extending the 50% exclusion on health insurance premiums to all high earners, not just the self employed, may side step part of this problem. But on the other hand, who knows how much tax revenue it would generate.

Also on Sunday, the FEHBlog mentioned the impending ICD-10 coding implementation date, October 1.  Health Data Management reports that while Medicare and the American Medical Association have announced an ICD-10 transition plan,  commercial insurers and State Medicaid Plans have been rather mum on the topic. And why not, it was not their idea to implement the ICD-10.

It’s hard to believe that OPM first announced the data breach three months ago on Friday. How time flies! Yesterday OPM announced that it has selected a breach remediation vendor for the second larger breach affecting security clearance forms.  The lucky vendor is Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC, doing business as ID Experts. Federal News Radio explains that

unlike the earlier contract to notify 4.2 million former and current feds, ID Experts only will handle identity protection services, not data breach notifications. All notifications to all victims of the second OPM breach will be handled directly by DoD and will come via dot-mil email addresses.

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