Weekend update

Happy Fathers’ Day. 

Congress remains in session this week, here’s a link to the Week in Congress’s report on last week’s activities on Capitol Hill.  Note that the House passed three healthcare related bills last week that essentially act as amendments to the American Health Care Act (left column of the link).  The Hill provides us with an outline of the Senate leadership working group’s changes to that bill.

Tammy Flanagan discusses and compares FEHB plan prescription drug coverage here.  She advises

To get ready for the 2017 health insurance open season this fall, you may want to spend one of your lazy, hazy days of summer comparing prescription drug benefits between your FEHBP plan options. It could save you some out-of-pocket costs in 2018.

Her article explains how to engage in this exercise.

CMS has created a useful website for its statutorily mandated Social Security Number (SSN) Removal Initiative.  CMS is replacing the SSN with a new eleven character Medicare Beneficiary Indicator (MBI) on Medicare enrollment cards. The card replacement process begins next April and will end in April 2019.  As the FEHBlog understands it, CMS will use both the SSN (a/k/a HCIN) and the MBI in Medicare electronic transactions, such as cross over claims, until January 1, 2020. At that point only the MBI will be used. As there are over 1 million enrollees with Medicare coverage plus dependent spouses in the FEHBP, this is a transition that warrants FEHB carrier and annuitant attention.

Health Data Management reports on a new Advisory Board survey of consumer interest in telehealth services.

According to [that] survey, up to 77 percent of
consumers would consider seeing a provider virtually, and 19 percent
already have. The results suggest that the healthcare industry has
largely underestimated and, to date, failed to meet consumer interest in
virtual care. The Virtual Visits Consumer Choice Survey is Advisory
Board’s ninth nationwide consumer choice survey designed to better
understand the tradeoffs that consumers make when they need different
types of care.

The article suggests that health care providers need to get on board the telehealth train.