Fixing the Family Glitch

The final regulation is out from HHS attempting to fix what is know as “the family glitch” and giving a further 200,000 Americans opportunity access subsidized health insurance coverage through the exchanges. If you think about, it is amazing it took so long from the Affordable Care Act’s inception and implementation to address the fallout from allowing household family members to be within the definition of those eligible for exchange purchase because of unaffordability of employer offered family plan health insurance. In short, those opposing the fix maintain that the drafters meant those offered employer sponsored insurance that exceeds roughly 9.4 percent of their income for a family plan should seek publicly funded insurance, charity, or go without.

The Significance of the End of the COVID Emergency

The political maneuvering around declaring COVID over and done is absolutely fascinating. But, today, I am interested in the official end of the declaration of public health emergency by the federal government. So much hinges on the termination date: HIPAA requirement waivers; nursing home staffing standards waivers, are two that loom large. Today, I learned the official termination of the federal pronouncement of the public health emergency has been extended until January 1, 2023.

OTC Hearing Aids

Who wants to take a field trip to Best Buy in November? Word is, their new in-store sale centers for OTC will be up and running by then. The New York Times wonders how hearing aid dependent audiology practices will adjust to the pivot to selling hearing aid support for equipment purchased elsewhere. I do as well. Might their resources be turned to helping more intensively those beyond mild to moderate hearing loss — the target demographic for OTC hearing aids? The hearing aid industry is ripe for disruption in the moderate to severe hearing loss group as well.

Certificates of Public Advantage

It has taken a while, but the FTC has spoken out against the anti-competitive effects of Certificates of Public Advantage Laws, those state laws that extend an antitrust shield to merging acute care hospital entities seeking to merge or affiliate in the name of the greater good. COPAs are beyond having a moment and have, over the past few decades, become decidedly fashionable. In light of this, the FTC’s bottom line that the states should stop, turn about face, and repeal these statutes seems curiously pie in the sky. Are COPAs the source of rising health costs and declining competition in the acute care hospital sector or an attempt at a quasi-regulatory fix?