Weekend update

The Federal Benefits Open Season begins tomorrow and will end on December 14.  Self plus one enrollment will be available in the FEHB Program this Open Season. The Washington Post warns that some plans charge an enrollee premium for self plus one coverage that is more than the enrollee premium for self and family coverage.

In all FEHBP plans, the total self plus one premium (government plus enrollee contribution) is less than the total self plus family premium. Nevertheless because the government contribution for self plus one coverage is less than the government contribution for self and family coverage, the enrollee contribution for self plus one can exceed the enrollee contribution for self and family if the total premiums for the two enrollment types are close to one another in amount. The Washington Post article explains the reason for such an outcome (it’s the FEHB Program’s demographics at work)

For example, assume the following facts — the total premium for self and family is $100 and the government contribution is $75; the total premium for self plus one is $90 and the government contribution is $60. In that event the enrollee contribution for self plus one would be $30 and the enrollee contribution for self and family would be $25.  You can elect self and family if there are two people in your family group.  Look before you leap.

As the FEHBlog noted on Friday, Congress is out of town this coming week.  The Hill reports that the Democratic leadership in Congress is actively pushing for repeal of the 40% excise tax on high cost employer sponsored health coverage.

Opponents of the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans believe 2015 is their last, best chance to get the provision repealed before presidential politics grind the legislative process to a halt.
With just two months left in the year, sources say the most ideal option for Democrats is attaching repeal to the package known as “tax extenders.” The cost of the extenders bill is typically not offset, making it an attractive vehicle for ending one of ObamaCare’s biggest revenue generators.
Reid and Pelosi have not settled on a plan and are leaving their options open, the aide said, adding that the work on ending the tax could carry over into next year.
“It is clearly a commitment for the Democratic leadership,” AFL-CIO lobbyist Tom Leibfried said in an interview in his downtown office Friday. “We think there’s a real chance to get this done, as big a lift as this is.”

Hope springs eternal.

Last week, Truven Analytics issued its annual list of top performing cardiovascular hospitals in the U.S. as reported in Cardiovascular Business.  Modern Healthcare adds that

Leaders at Truven’s top cardiovascular hospitals say standardizing care enables them to be more cost-effective. “By adhering to guidelines, you should see better quality,” said Dr. Mohamed Hamdan, chief of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Wisconsin. “I don’t think that ordering more tests results in better quality. But ordering the right test is better and less costly.” 

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