Weekend update

Congress remains out of town for another week.  The FEHBlog is in New York City for another two days. The weather in NYC has been spectacular particularly for late August.

In any event, OPM announced that “Rob Leahy will serve as OPM’s Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO), following the departure of David DeVries on September 2, 2017. Mr. Leahy currently serves as OPM’s Deputy CIO. In addition, OPM Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Cord Chase will transition into the role of Acting Deputy CIO. It’s surprising that the President has not nominated a new candidate for OPM Director.

While the FEHBlog has noticed that the ACA regulators have provided regulatory relief to health care providers and insurers in the individual market, the FEHBlog does not recall any efforts to provide regulatory relief to group health plans and insurers. It would not take a federal law or regulation. It would just involve repealing some burdensome ACA FAQs. That’s involves as much administrative procedure as tossing a piece of paper into a trash can.

The FEHBlog noticed an odd op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week.  The op-ed asserts that insurers are continuing to apply pre-existing condition limitations. The ACA like the FEHBP prohibits health plans from limiting coverage at the first time of eligibility. The laws do not limit the use of reasonable medical management techniques like pre-authorization and pre-certification which have in around in the FEHBP and the entire insurance market for decades. Yet the op-ed seeks to redefine those measures as pre-existing condition limitations which is non-sense. The Morning Consult reports that AHIP has come to industry’s defense on this point as well.  Health plans will be unable to play their role in controlling healthcare costs if they are deprived of their tools.