Tuesday’s Tidbits

Congress is moving forward with enacting the conference report for H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Here’s a link to a two pager highlighting the bill’s policy changes.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposed a rule today that would allow the government- wide plans, Blue Cross and the long vacant indemnity benefit plan carrier, to offer three options. The FEHB Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 8903 requires those plans to offer two options. OPM currently permits the other plan types — employee organization plans and comprehensive medical plans — to offer three plan types. OPM describes this proposal as illustrating FEHBP’s flexibilities. The FEHBlog hopes that this will be the first of many FEHB flexibilities offered to carriers over the coming year in an effort to create a more hospitable environment for competition. The comment deadline on this rule is February 20, 2018.

HHS’s Office for Civil Rights has created two new websites — one for professionals and the other for consumers — “providing specific guidance addressing HIPAA protections, the obligations of covered health care providers, and the circumstances in which covered providers can share information related to mental health and substance use disorder treatment [specifically with family members].”  Here’s a link to the HHS press release about these worthy actions.

In the latest mergers and acquisitions news, Humana has joined with two private venture firms to purchase Kindred Healthcare for $9 per share or $4.1 billion. USA Today explains that “The goal is for Humana, the Louisville-based health insurance company, to acquire full ownership of Kindred’s home care business in three to five years at a price to be determined later.”