Happy Thanksgiving

Even in this difficult year, we Americans can still enjoy our great holiday Thanksgiving. The Wall Street Journal discusses a study of how to cope with the COVID-19 great hunkering down — the results tie in with traditional Thanksgiving activities

“[M]usic [parades], exercise [touch football] and entertainment [NFL football and movies] were the most potent stress relievers for the greatest number of people. But of those three activities, music—singing, dancing, playing an instrument, or just listening to a favorite playlist—was the only one that led to a reduction of depression symptoms. A fifth of all the participants reported it as the most effective way to reduce their pandemic-induced blues. Music’s palliative effects were particularly potent for people who were highly sensitive to rewards.  * * * [Needless to say] Cooking, baking and eating also helped tamp down the blues. 

Health Payer Intelligence reports, and the FEHBlog could not agree more strongly that

Employers are gravitating toward integrated health care benefits to improve member engagement and patient experience as well as lower healthcare spending, according to a report commissioned by Anthem.

Integrated health care interweaves pharmacy, ancillary, supplemental health, and other benefits data into the employer’s health plan to facilitate smoother communication between employees’ providers.

Provider collaboration is key to this strategy. Three key methods for facilitating provider collaboration included connecting all providers through an [electronic medical record] EMR, establishing automatic reminders about extra dental cleanings, and sending health-related reminders to employees. Employers also leveraged AI and apps to connect employees to their benefits.

That’s a very interesting use of EMRs to help close gaps in care.

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the Affordable Care Act’s Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (“PCORI”) fee “for policy years and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2020, and before October 1, 2021, is $2.66” per covered health plan life (/ bellybutton). The PCORI fee payment is due at the end of July. The adjusted fee is 12 cents higher than the fee paid in July 2020.