Midweek update

The FEHBP now the Federal Benefits Open Season always has featured health fairs at federal agencies where employees can gather information and speak with plan representatives.  Congressmen and women with districts that have a large population of federal annuitants, like the FEHBlog’s, offer their own health fairs aimed at the annnuitants.  Benefeds in cooperation with OPM will be holding a virtual benefits fair online.

Can’t attend a health fair this year? No problem!  
For whatever reason—telework, geography, or just being busy—you can’t always make it to an onsite event. But, now you can attend online!
1.  Register for the virtual benefits fair online and confirm your
     email. Be sure to set a secure password.
2.  Log in anytime during the Federal Benefits Open Season, from
     November 14 to December 12, 2016.
3.  Visit individual carrier booths to compete in our nationwide virtual
     scavenger hunt and trivia-style games, watch videos, and get
     answers from the experts!
Live answers to your questions
Visit the virtual benefits fair during any one of our two live carrier chat days:
Monday, November 14, 2016, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ET
Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ET  

Here’s the registration link.

Yesterday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave the State of Vermont (pop.  625,000 people, 630,000 cows?) final approval to move forward with a plan to implement a “Vermont All-Payer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model. The CMS fact sheet explains that

Vermont will encourage Vermont payers and providers to participate in ACO programs such that by 2022, 70 percent of all Vermont insured residents, including 90 percent of Vermont Medicare beneficiaries, are attributed to an ACO. ACOs will continue to have payer-specific benchmarks and financial settlement calculations, but the ACO design (e.g., quality measures, risk arrangement, payment mechanisms, and beneficiary alignment methodology) will be closely aligned across payers. 

It will be interesting to see how if at all this initiative impacts the FEHBP.  This initiative is Vermont’s Plan B that follows up on a shelved effort to create a single payer system.

Also yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service released its handy dandy summary of 2017 inflation adjustments to tax provisions, several of which relate to health benefits. Many of the adjustments had been previously announced.

Mike Causey had a column yesterday which confirmed the FEHBlog’s understanding that the FEHBP-related provision of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s bipartisan postal reform bill (HR 5714) find general support with most affected organizations.