Midweek update

CVS announced the following six health trends for 2020

  1. Continued evolution in kidney care 
  2. Greater consumer scrutiny on wellness products 
  3. The need for data stewardship as digital health rolls on 
  4. Pharmacies as a tool to reach underserved populations 
  5. Efforts to mitigate loneliness 
  6. Increased transparency around drug pricing 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has decided to extend Medicare coverage to acupuncture for chronic low back pain as an alternative to opioid based pain killers. The CMS decision ” will cover up to 12 sessions in 90 days with an additional 8 sessions for those patients with chronic low back pain who demonstrate improvement.” Previously Medicare excluded acupuncture from coverage.

Retired OPM official Reg Jones discusses survivor benefits related to federal employment in Fedweek. FEHBP survivor benefits are generous if the prerequisites are met:

If your spouse receives an annuity in any amount and was covered under either the self plus one or self and family option of your FEHB plan, he or she and all eligible children may continue coverage. If the annuity amount is less than the premiums required, your spouse will be able to directly make payments to cover the rest of the cost.

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