Weekend update

Congress remains in session this coming week on Capitol Hill. The Supreme Court is headed toward the end of its current term next month. The Hill identified five cases already argued before the Court that await their decision. None of them pertain to healthcare.

Bloomberg reports on healthcare and prescription drug industry reaction to the President’s blueprint for lowering prescription drug prices.

Federal News Radio discusses the Postal Service’s latest quarterly financial report and the state of Postal reform. In this regard,

“[Postmaster General Megan] Brennan says the Postal Service has been “fully cooperating” with the [President’s] postal task force.  “The Postal Service welcomes the task force study because we believe that it deserves to be studied, and that the larger public policy issues need to be addressed,” she said. 

The White House task force will also look at the root causes of the decline in mail volume, and whether the Postal Service should keep its monopoly on letter delivery.
Brennan said USPS isn’t prepared to let go of its letter business anytime soon. 

“That’s one of the few tools we have to help support the universal service obligation. We’re required to maintain an expansive transportation retail and delivery network to serve every address six days a week,” she said.

Health Payer Intelligence reports on the results of J.D. Power’s annual survey of health insurer customer service satisfaction.

The JD Power 2018 Commercial Member Health Plan Study found that consumer satisfaction with the health plan industry [was stable from 2017 to 2018] still lags behind other industries in terms of convenience, helpfulness, and the availability of user-friendly purchasing experiences.

“Commercial health plans have been battling a perfect storm of rising costs, payment reforms and consolidation, which has distracted them from focusing on improving overall customer satisfaction in the sector compared with other industries,” said Valerie Monet, Senior Director of US Insurance Operations at JD Power.

Only 47 percent of health plan members fully understood how their plan works.  Respondents said that they have significant trouble understanding certain administrative processes, such as when pre-approvals are needed for medical services or treatments.

Clearly room for improvement exists.

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