We've compiled health benefit news from sources relevant to third-party administrators. From the latest updates on COVID-related initiatives to innovation in health care, we strive to provide interesting and relevant information for our customers.

COVID Impacts on COBRA

In May, the U.S. Department of Labor released a rule extending the time frame in which employees can choose COBRA health insurance coverage as well as the deadline for them to begin making COBRA payments.
This extended the COBRA election time frame to 120 days following the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration. This extension is in addition to the current 60-day election period. Read more.

SOURCE: Society of Human Resource Management

Supreme Court Ruling Could Affect Your Employee Health Benefit Plan

The Supreme Court recently ruled that gay, lesbian, transgender employees and prospective employees from workplace discrimination based on sex or gender but also sexual orientation or gender identity

Some states have taken the same position as it relates to the prevention of discrimination to fully insured health plans. This means that Title VII for LGBTQ people does extend to employer-sponsored health care. Benefit plan administrators should review policies for coverage for issues related to the LGBTQ community. Read more.


Court Upholds CMS’ Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule

A federal judge upheld a final rule mandating hospital pricing transparency. The rule will take place on January 1, 2021, and will provide patients with “information about changes, payer-specific negotiated charges, discounted cash prices, and ‘de-identified’ minimum and maximum negotiated rules.” Read more

SOURCE: Health Leaders

“Alexa, send my prescription for a refill.”

Anthem commercial medical and dental health plans now include the ability for members to connect to their plan information through Amazon’s Alexa device. To use Alexa, the member will download the Alexa skill onto the device, and log in with their Anthem credentials. This new way to get information is HIPAA compliant. Read more

SOURCE: Modern Healthcare

Patients Discovering Errors in Their Electronic Health Records

While health care is trending toward the convenience of electronic health records, one in five patients is finding errors in their records. A study published in JAMA Network Open noted that more people are accessing their EHRs because of increased transparency.

The study surveyed nearly 23,000 patients in 2017 about their use of Open Notes. In total 21 percent of those surveyed found a mistake in their notes including “very serious” mistakes such as diagnosis descriptions. Read more.

SOURCE: Healthcare Innovation

PAC Claims that Trump is Trying to Cut Medicare are Mostly-False

A Democratic super PAC unveiled a new ad criticizing Trump’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. In the ad, the PAC alleges that Trump is trying to cut Medicare during a global pandemic. In reality, the “cuts” are a reduction in the projected increase in spending over a certain period. The Kaiser Health News rated this mostly false. Read the details here.

SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation

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