Tuesday Tidbits

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an Arizona Court of Appeals decision (No. 16-912) and a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit decision (No 16-504) which presented the same issue as Nevils — whether the FEHB Act preempts state anti-subrogation law. In contrast to Nevils, those court had answered the question in the affirmative. The Supreme Court made its unanimous ruling in Nevils even more emphatic for the benefit of the Missouri Supreme Court who must take the Nevils case again for the third time.

It occurred yesterday to the FEHBlog that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had not yet decided Anthem’s appeal of the lower court’s decision blocking Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna.  By its terms, the merger agreement expires on Sunday April 30 at least as the FEHBlog understands it. Healthcare Dive reports that Anthem has moved the Delaware Chancery Court for a preliminary injunction barring Cigna from terminating the merger agreement, The motion will be heard on May 8. The FEHBlog expects that the D.C. Circuit, which is aware of the April 30 deadline, will rule before then.

HHS Office for Civil Rights took another scalp this week. According to the HHS press release, CardioNet, a Pennsylvania based wireless healthcare service provider, agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine and implement a correction action plan. The investigation stemmed from a data breach affecting 1,391 patients. Healthcare IT News explains that “The size of the settlement demonstrates OCR’s stance on the need for organizations to implement strong, HIPAA-compliant security policies.”  This is the third public HIPAA related settlement this month.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the large prescription benefit management company “Express Scripts announced Monday that Anthem, its largest customer, is unlikely to renew its contract once it expires at the end of 2019. Anthem, which accounts for roughly one-sixth of total Express Scripts revenue, has sued the company for allegedly overcharging on prescription drugs over several years.” That’s attention grabbing. The Journal provides more perspective on the “corporate feud” in its article.

Meanwhile, the Drug Channel blog takes a gander at prescription benefit manager Optum Rx’s 2016 insights report.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal offers Deloitte Consulting’s views on challenges facing health insurers this year and the Health Affairs blog gives advice to large employers who sponsor health plans.