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The Stacks – 2nd Quarter 2023 Newsletter

On April 4, 2023
This is "The Stacks" from The Phia Group's 2nd Quarter 2023 Newsletter

Empowering Plans: P159 – Putting the Patient First: Challenges to Common TPA Operations

On March 31, 2023
In this episode of The Phia Group's Empowering Plans podcast, attorneys Katie Malkin and Jon Jablon take a dive into three aspects of TPA operations designed to try to make the TPA's job more manageable: simplifying EOB denial codes, sending family EOBs, and recouping overpayments by offsetting. These are three common strategies used by TPAs, but applicable law places certain limits on all of them that are not always so intuitive. Tune in as Jon and Katie discuss some best (and worst) practices, and examine critical issues facing TPAs and health plans in today's self-funded industry.

Jimmy Carter’s Complicated Healthcare Legacy

On March 21, 2023
In the Bicentennial Summer of 1976—during which Jimmy Carter was campaigning for president—there was nonstop pageantry. Patriotism reached fever pitch as parade floats washed in red, white, and blue streamed through smalltown America while Uncle Sam-inspired merchandise flooded the shelves of department stores across the entire union. But overshadowed by the unprecedented amount of hoopla was the sobering reality that the then-two-century-old nation had a broken healthcare system: at this moment in time, 26 million Americans lacked health insurance altogether while another 28 million possessed only minimal coverage. And Carter, who grew up on a backwoods Georgia peanut farm with neither running water nor electricity, sympathized with the plight of the working poor by endorsing the concept that America needed universal healthcare coverage—to the extent that it was economically (and politically) feasible.

Empowering Plans: P158 – Seek and Ye Shall Find

On March 17, 2023
In the world of subrogation, there’s (almost) always more funds to recover, you just have to go searching for them—even if that means in unconventional places. In their latest podcast, attorneys Chris Aguiar and Cindy Merrell discuss how, particularly in regards to auto accidents involving participants who have substandard coverage, there is a heightened need to capitalize on opportunities for plans to recover funds. Don’t miss Phia’s veteran subrogation attorneys weighing in on how healthcare plans can be reimbursed so that their participants reap long-term benefits.

Maximizing Subrogation and Reimbursement in Medical Malpractice Claims

On March 13, 2023
The idea of healthcare subrogation and reimbursement seems straightforward. A third party causes an injury to a plan member and the Plan seeks recovery for the benefits advanced by the health plan from either the at-fault party or from the proceeds of the settlement. However, it can be much more complicated. Some of the most complex cases occur when a plan member makes a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice subrogation and reimbursement typically involve high dollar claims and the member is usually suffering from a permanent condition or has died. These cases can be difficult not only for the member who has suffered injuries, but for the health plans as well.

Price Transparency: A Chief Concern at SIIA’s Recent Kanas City Forum

On March 9, 2023
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – In the opening presentation of the SIIA Price Transparency Forum held at the Kanas City Marriott Downtown last month, SIIA’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Ryan Work, made a bold prediction: if healthcare costs remain on this decades-long rising trajectory it could lead to the demise of employer-based healthcare as we know it.

Confusion Over Recent Insulin Cost Capping Discussions

On March 6, 2023
I recently drafted an article regarding legislative proposals to “cap” patient out of pocket costs for insulin. In it, I explained that – while the individual patient’s out of pocket cost may be reduced at the time of purchase – the total cost of the medication is not reduced. Instead, a greater share is shifted onto the health benefit plan or insurance. That payer would then – likely – increase the cost of coverage (premiums, contributions, etc.), resulting in the patient ultimately paying the cost of the drug… simply in a different way. Shifting who pays a designated portion of a price doesn’t reduce the price itself. The only way to reduce the price of something is to reduce the price.

Empowering Plans: P157 – New TPA Liabilities – Section 1557

On March 3, 2023
One of the healthcare trends we have been following so far in 2023 is expanded TPA liabilities. In this edition of the Empowering Plans podcast, attorneys Brady Bizarro and Andrew Silverio discuss a recent federal court case in which a TPA was found liable for violations of the ACA’s Section 1557. Despite numerous defenses raised by the TPA, many of which we see regularly used by TPAs, the court rejected them all, potentially expanding the scope of Section 1557. Tune in to hear more about this significant case and what it means for our industry.

Hospital Prices: Fully Transparent or Still Somewhat Opaque?

On February 23, 2023
In the throes of the first pandemic winter, still months before coronavirus vaccines would roll out in earnest, the Hospital Price Transparency Rule went into effect. It was a promising development in the world of healthcare cost containment—hospitals were now obligated to provide a single, machine-readable digital file containing standard charges for all services and items provided by the facility.

Empowering Plans: P156 – Accommodating Reasonably: Navigating the ADA and PWFA in 2023

On February 16, 2023
On this episode of Empowering Plans, Kelly Dempsey and Kevin Brady provide some valuable insights into the reasonable accommodation process under the ADA and PWFA. The PWFA, which will be effective this June, expands the scope of existing federal law with respect to accommodating employees with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Tune in to learn why this is important for employers in 2023 and beyond!

The State of Paid FMLA: Thirteen States and Counting

On February 15, 2023
Crucial healthcare and employee benefits issues were addressed during President Biden’s recent State of the Union, including a commitment to expanding paid family and medical leave. Thirty years ago, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed and created new opportunities for employees faced with the difficult decision of having to choose between work and family. FMLA allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical reasons and continue their group health coverage.

Love is in the (Health)Care!

On February 15, 2023
Roses are red, violets are blue, and The Phia Group has some hot tips for you. Whether you sponsor, administer, or service self-funded health plans, The Phia Group’s free webinar will thrill and amaze you. The Phia Group’s team presented a variety of important issues, best practices, and case studies. From disputes with providers, to subrogation, to regulatory updates, and beyond… this webinar is better than a box of chocolates. Don’t wait to unwrap your gift!

Empowering Plans: P155 – The State of the Union 2023: Phia’s Take

On February 10, 2023
The State of the Union has always served as an important bellwether for our country, but also, for our industry, revealing what the current administration’s healthcare policies will be going forward, and in some cases, which ones enjoy bipartisan support. In this special edition podcast, join attorneys Ron Peck and Brady Bizarro as they break down the president’s speech, providing you with their reaction and analysis, and explain what you should be watching this year.

SPD Payment Limitations Under the No Surprises Act

On February 9, 2023
Ah, the Plan Document! It’s the “supreme law of the land” governing the health plan’s benefits. Would that make ERISA the Declaration of Independence of self-funding, maybe? Freedom from the tyranny of state or federal laws that attempt to make their own rules for the plan rather than letting the plan govern itself?

Empowering Plans: P154 – No Ordinary Time in Healthcare

On February 3, 2023
Corey Crigger and Nicholas Bonds cover a lot of ground in the newest installment of The Phia Group’s Empowering Plans podcast: Whether it’s the National and Public Health Emergencies starting to wind down or what state legislatures have in store for non-profit hospitals that overcharge or Amazon creeping into the healthcare space, Phia’s attorneys are here to keep you up to date on the ever-changing world of healthcare.