This coming week, the U.S. House of Representatives will engage in Committee business and the Senate will engage in both Committee business and the Senate will engage in Committee business and floor voting. Roll Call explains that “President Joe Biden told House Democrats on Friday to hold off on his bipartisan infrastructure bill until they reach agreement on a scaled-back partisan tax and spending package funding the rest of his economic agenda.”
The U.S. Supreme Court opens its October 2021 term tomorrow. Two Affordable Care Act Section 1557 (individual non-discrimination law) cases will be argued this calendar quarter.
On the Delta variant front, the Wall Street Journal reports that
The cost of similar Covid-19 treatments can vary by tens of thousands of dollars a patient, even within the same hospital, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of pricing data that indicates pandemic care hasn’t escaped the complex economics of the U.S. health system.
One kind of patient, with a type of severe respiratory condition that is common among those admitted with Covid-19, is an example of the wide range. The rates for these patients usually spanned from less than $11,000 to more than $43,000, the analysis found, but some prices could be far higher, depending on the severity of the case.
Federal News Network informs us that
The Office of Personnel Management on Friday offered up more details on how agencies might approach disciplinary action against employees who fail to comply with the Biden administration’s recent federal vaccine mandate.
Because employees aren’t considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving a single-shot series or the second dose of a two-shot series, they must get the vaccine by Nov. 8 to comply with the federal mandate.
Therefore, agencies can begin the disciplinary process for employees who are unvaccinated by Nov. 8 on the following day, Nov. 9, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said Friday in a new memo.
On the No Surprises Act front, Prof. Katie Keith and her colleagues delves into the details of the second interim final rule on the NSA which concerns the independent dispute resolution process.
On the newly opened Federal Benefits Open Season front, the FEHBlog notes that Blue Cross FEP and Kaiser Permanente have posted information about 2022 benefits on their respective websites. Here’s a belated link to OPM’s announcement of 2022 premiums from last Thursday.
On a related note Healthcare Dive informs us that
Average Medicare Advantage premium rates are dropping 10% to $19 a month next year as nearly 30 million people are expected to be enrolled in the program, an increase of about 2.6 million from this year, CMS said in a Thursday press release.
Cigna and UnitedHealthcare are expanding their MA footprints. Cigna is going into three new states and increasing its geographic coverage by 30%. UnitedHealthcare is entering 276 new counties, giving it access to 94% of Medicare members.
Analysts at Cowen said in a note Friday that after reviewing benefits for the three largest plans from top insurers, it saw stability to modest improvements. That indicates conservative bids among the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Open enrollment for Medicare runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.