Thursday Roundup

The FEHBlog discovered that the OPM Inspector General has posted on the internet his semi-annual report to Congress for the period ended March 31, 2018, and the agency has posted its management response to that report.

OPM today issued a final rule terminating effective September 30, 2018, the program offering stepchild coverage under the FEHBP and FEDVIP to the children of/ C domestic partners living overseas with a same sex federal employee.  This temporary program was ended for federal employees living in the U.S. effective January 1, 2016, soon after the Obergefell decision was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. “There is no change in coverage for children whose same-sex partners are married.”

Interesting tidbits outside the FEHBP:

  • Healthcare Dive reports on Mercer Consulting’s recent national survey of employer sponsored health coverage.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services today issued a proposed Medicare Part B physician fee schedule rule for the 2019 calendar year. CMS touts the rule as quite deregulatory and note that the rule provide for Medicare Part B coverage of telehealth services. 
  • An Employee Benefit News article offers three ways to help employees understand the value of health savings accounts. 
  • Health Data Management calls attention to a growing number of indictments and criminal complaints based on violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. This is noteworthy because the criminal sanctions have been on the books for over 20 years.
  • Finally, the Wall Street Journal reports tonight that the Justice Department has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from the recent lower court decision permitting the AT&T / Time Warner merger to proceed. The FEHBlog has been tracking the case because it involves a vertical merger similar to the vertical healthcare mergers now under antitrust review, e.g. CVS / Aetna, Cigna / Express Scripts, and Walmart / Humana. No predictions, just keeping track. 

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