Thursday Stats and More

As tomorrow is the federal holiday celebrating the Fourth of July, the FEHBlog will report COVID-19 stats today. It’s not pretty. The stats are based on the CDC’s COVID-19 Cases in the U.S. website.

Week endingTotal CasesTotal Deaths

May 21

297,581

8,956
June 4148,2107,561
June 18161,2894,865
June 25199,2525,270
July 2304,4966,215

The first row was the high point in new cases and new deaths over the past six weeks. The new cases are back at the mid-May level but deaths are still below mid-May (but above mid-June). The FEHBlog firmly believes that this new surge in cases will be more manageable than the first surge because doctors know how to manage the disease and treatments are available.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R Iowa), who is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has introduced his Updated Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2020. It’s worth noting that the Senator’s Committee approved the 2019 version of this bill last summer by a 19-9 vote. Sen. Grassley then worked with Sen. Ron Wyden (D. Ore.) to make the bill more bipartisan in nature. However, the bill has no Democrat Senator co-sponsors because after all this is an election year. There may wind being action on this bill in the lame duck session following the November election.

The Society for Human Resource Management offers three checklists to help employers avoid LGBTQ discrimination in their benefit programs following the recent Supreme Court decision including sexual orientation and gender identity within the scope of prohibited sex discrimination. Check it out.

The Department of Health and Human Services has posted its current list of sub regulatory guidance. The website explains that

On October 9, 2019, the President issued Executive Order (EO) 13891 entitled Promoting the Rule of Law through Improved Agency Guidance Documents (84 FR 552350). The EO requires HHS to establish a single, searchable, indexed database that contains links to all of HHS’s guidance documents currently in effect. Guidance documents come in a variety of formats, including interpretive memoranda, policy statements, manuals, bulletins, advisories, and more. Please note, the contents of this database do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These documents are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or HHS policies.

The FEHBlog looks forward to reviewing OPM’s companion site.

Speaking of OPM, Federal News Radio reports

Existing health and retirement benefits are a significant incentive for employees to take or keep a job in the federal government, according to the latest survey results from the Office of Personnel Management.

About 70% of those who took OPM’s 2019 benefits survey said the ability to receive insurance through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program influenced their decision to a “great or moderate” extent to take a job in government, while 80% said the program influenced their decision to keep their jobs.

Hey what’s not to like? Great benefits and if you have FEHBP coverage for the five years preceding your civil service retirement you carry FEHBP coverage into retirement with the full government contribution. Well deserved benefits.

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