Midweek Update

Thanks to a Govexec.com article, the FEHBlog ran across the joint General Services Administration / Office of Personnel Management Fiscal Year 2021 budget justification for the benefit of our Congress. OPM’s FEHBP discussion may be found on pages 69-70 and its FEHBA legislative proposals may be found on 30 of the OPM section of the document. The OPM Inspector General budget discussion begins on page IG-24 of the document. The FEHBlog is waiting for OPM to release the revised FEHBA language for its FEHBA legislative proposal, which is a retread from the FY 2020 budget proposal. (No such detailed language was released last year.)

Federal News Network reports that “an estimated 200,000 military family members and retirees would lose their ability to get health care through military hospitals and clinics under a ‘rightsizing’ plan the Defense Department sent to Congress on Wednesday.” The details may be found in this plan document. This proposal if implemented would impact the FEHB because many military retirees are active federal employees / FEHB enrollees. Thank you veterans for your double service to our Country. The FEHBlog will keep an eye on this one too.

Finally, Healthcare Dive calls attention to a new trend:

  • Private equity firms acquired 355 physician practices from 2013 to 2016, accounting for a total of 1,426 sites of care and more than 5,700 physicians, according to the latest research in JAMA.
  • Acquisitions accelerated each year over that time period, from just 59 acquisitions in 2013 to 136 in 2016.
  • Off the 355 acquisitions, the most targeted area was anesthesiology with 69 practices acquired, followed by emergency physicians at 43, the report published Tuesday showed.

As noted in the article, these investors in turn are pressing for surprise billing proposals that would keep out of network practices profitable.

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