Oops I forgot

The FEHBlog forgot to mention in yesterday’s Weekend Update that last Friday afternoon the ACA regulators issued their latest ACA frequently asked question (“FAQ”).  In this FAQ, the ACA regulators confirmed Prof. Timothy Jost’s prediction that the new but not yet final summary of benefits and coverage template will be place in use for plan years beginning on or after April 1, 2017 – in other words for the FEHBP Open Season that takes place in late 2017 for the plan year beginning January 1, 2018.  Also the ACA regulators switched the FAQ number from Roman to Arabic / regular numbering.

While the FEHBlog is on line, here are a few quick hits:

  • The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Bristol-Myers is bucking the personalized medicine tide by marketing a specialty cancer drug with an optional diagnostic test. Merck’s latest personalized medicines to combat cancer require a diagnostic test before use.  Evidently, Bristol-Myers is banking on the fact that doctors who prescribe these drugs aren’t crazy about taking the time to perform the diagnostic test. That’s reassuring. 
  • The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team (featured in the Academy Award winning movie called Spotlight) is reporting on problems associated with “concurrent surgery” where one surgeon moves back and forth between two patients. Again that’s reassuring. The Globe reports today that Sen. Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has asked twenty hospital systems to report back to his committee on their use of concurrent surgery. Put that question down on your list for the next time you need surgery. 
  • NPR reports on how hospital emergency rooms are adapting their operations to provide routine care in a welcoming environment, given the wealth of insured patients created by the ACA.