Mid-week update

Last week, the FEHBlog mentioned several new healthcare related rules, etc., from the federal government. Timothy Jost from the Health Affairs blog provides more details on those rules, reports, and FAQs here.

The Washington Post reports that some current and former federal employees affected by the OPM data breach will need to re-enroll for full identity protection services due to an upcoming contractor change. OPM has posted a transition announcement here.

The FEHBlog has chronicled the Washington Post’s series of articles on the opioid crisis afflicting the country. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the crisis directly has affected children as well as adults — very young children who swallow opioids negligently left in the open and older children with drug problems.  The study published in JAMA Pediatrics “called for greater investment to tackle opioid storage, packaging and misuse. It called for better prevention programs in adolescence, with a particular focus on the overlap between opioid misuse and depression.”

Finally, the Wall Street Journal reports on a couple of companies whose products permit employers to share health care savings with cost conscious health plan members.

Employees can earn anywhere from about $25 to $500 for picking lower-cost providers, usually paid out in checks or gift cards. Employers typically pay the outside vendors a monthly fee of a few dollars per employee, or a cut of the total savings, to administer the rewards.
Without rewards, workers are unlikely to comparison-shop on their own, said Devon Herrick, a health economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Patients typically choose providers referred by their primary-care physicians or opt for the most convenient location, added Paul Ginsburg, a health economist at the University of Southern California.
“Workers will never do anything just for the benefit of the company,” said Mr. Herrick.

The companies mentioned in the article are Healthcare Blue Book and Vitals.

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