KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

OPM Plans To Invest More In Federal Employees’ Health Claims, Tries To Extend Coverage To Young Adults

Government Executive reports: "The Office of Personnel Management plans to invest money in efforts to track federal employees' health claims, strengthen its financial management system, and improve government jobs websites and automated federal employee databases, the agency said in filings released on Friday. The Capital Asset Plans that OPM submitted to the Office of Management and Budget offer more details about how OPM intends to use a database of federal employee health information, a proposal President Obama outlined in the fiscal 2011 budget. OPM Director John Berry told lawmakers in March that the database would link claims filed with the 10 largest Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plans and pharmacy benefit managers to demographic data to determine how effective providers were at improving participants' health and keeping costs down. In the filing with OMB, the personnel agency noted the database would bring the federal government in line with private sector practices on large health care plans. FEHBP covered 8 million individuals at a cost of $36 billion in fiscal 2008, OPM said, but there's no way to fully assess the results of that spending" (Rosenberg, 4/26).

The Federal Times reports: "The Office of Personnel Management is working with Congress to implement the health reform law early by allowing health insurance coverage of employees' adult dependent children up to age 26 before Jan. 1. If current laws are not changed, however, dependents age 22 and older will have to wait until 2011 for coverage. Some health insurance providers plan to extend coverage to adult dependent children of their non-federal enrollees early. Blue Cross Blue Shield last week said that beginning June 1, it will extend coverage for most enrollees' adult children who are under age 26. The health care reform law requires insurers to extend coverage to enrollees' children in the first plan year beginning on or after Sept. 23. Kaiser Permanente, Humana and other insurers are also extending coverage ahead of schedule. But the Office of Personnel Management said April 23 that the current law governing the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program does not allow federal plans to cover enrollees' children before the health care reform provisions take effect" (Losey, 4/26). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.