Fedweek reports that the OPM Inspector General has issued a report on FEHBP dependent eligibility issues. While the FEHBlog cannot locate it online, Fedweek informs us that the Inspector General

recommended that agency benefit officers verify the FEHB eligibility of dependents at the time of initial enrollment and when a family member is added to coverage by collecting and maintaining documentation such as proof of birth and marriage certificates. OPM would “need to work with its partners (agencies, payroll offices, carriers) to develop and implement a system to verify and maintain supporting eligibility documentation to reduce the aforementioned issues related to unentitled FEHB enrollments,” it said.

About five years ago, OPM added a clause to the standard FEHBP contracts requiring carriers to share the cost of dependent eligibility audits. However, those audits have not yet materialized. In any event, the FEHBlog agrees with the Inspector General’s approach.

Centene which owns an FEHB carrier Health Net closed on its acquisition of Wellcare, which among other things is a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) carrier according to a Healthcare Dive report. “The blockbuster acquisition will make Centene the country’s third-largest publicly traded managed care company and double its Medicare footprint.”

The Centers for Disease Control advises that

the second infection with 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States has been detected in Illinois. The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by this novel coronavirus has been ongoing since December 2019.

The CDC announcement explains the appropriate steps that the agency is taking to prepare for the disease. Kaiser Health News reminds us

There’s a deadly virus spreading from state to state. It preys on the most vulnerable, striking the sick and the old without mercy. In just the past few months, it has claimed the lives of at least 39 children.

The virus is influenza, and it poses a far greater threat to Americans than the coronavirus from China that has made headlines around the world.

“When we think about the relative danger of this new coronavirus and influenza, there’s just no comparison,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Quite true.

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