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Empowering Plans: P181 – Chevron Deference in Peril – What It Could Mean for Healthcare Regulations

On February 1, 2024
In this episode of the Empowering Plans podcast, attorneys Brady Bizarro and Brian O’Hara discuss the legal doctrine involved in two cases now before the Supreme Court – Chevron deference. They’ll explain what it means, why it is important for federal agency action, and how it impacts the entire healthcare industry. With a decision expected by this summer, you do not want to miss our take on how the NSA, the Medicare drug price negotiations, and the ACA itself could be at stake.

Empowering Plans: P180 – The Continuing Evolution of MHPAEA

On January 18, 2024
One might think they’re listening to a broken record when hearing Jennifer McCormick and Kelly Dempsey discuss the ever-shifting landscape of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), but alas, this is a brand new podcast! As we start 2024, we are reframing our mindset and are making some changes to address the evolving MHPAEA regulations and insights we have received from regulating bodies through the NQTL Comparative Analysis Process. In addition to highlighting the significance of how these issues should be addressed within an employer’s PD/SPD, there are three main changes discussed to create visibility for employers creating new 2024 PD/SPDs.

Empowering Plans: P179 – Higher Healthcare Prices (Made From Concentrate)

On January 4, 2024
The trend of provider consolidation is primed to pick up pace in 2024, distilling some areas into even more highly concentrated healthcare markets. Ron Peck and Nick Bonds break down how this concentration impacts the costs of healthcare and can drive costs upward for employers and employees alike. With fewer provider options, higher prices, and patients caught in the middle, Ron and Nick outline just a few of their concerns and discuss some of the tools health plans have at their disposal.

Empowering Plans: P178 – Back to December (Phia’s Version)

On December 21, 2023
It is the last podcast of the year, and you know All Too Well that it is Phia’s 2023 year-in-review! Sparks Fly as Kendall Jackson and Corey Crigger talk about how Everything in PGC and Provider Relations Has Changed in 2023. If you need to catch up on anything from the No Surprises Act to Gag Clause Attestations, You Need To Calm Down and Stay Stay Stay tuned into this podcast episode. In addition to the big changes in 2023, we look forward to 2024 and ask, are you … Ready For It?

Empowering Plans: P177 – Entering the Danger Zone: Cross-Plan Offsetting

On December 8, 2023
Attorneys Jon Jablon and Cindy Merrell discuss the practice of cross-plan offsetting and the recent settlement between the Department of Labor and EmblemHealth Inc. Who wins and who loses when a TPA decides to use cross-plan offset?

Empowering Plans: P176 – Copay Accumulator Programs Take a Hit: What’s Next?

On November 21, 2023
Attorneys Brady Bizarro and Andrew Silverio discuss a recent federal court decision that saw drug manufacturers and patients alike score a win against copay accumulator programs – programs that help maximize the manufacturer assistance available to patients but decline to count those amounts toward deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. With the latest rule being struck down, where does the law stand now and what will happen next?

Empowering Plans: P175 – No Surprises Act Brings More Surprises & Other Surprises for 2024

On November 9, 2023
Join Provider Relations Senior Attorney, Brian O’Hara, and Vice President of Consulting, Kelly Dempsey, for a quick rundown of changes to be prepared for as we near 2024. While there are the regular recurring changes to ACA and IRS out-of-pocket limits, this podcast will uncover a couple lesser-known items hidden in some NSA proposed rules and a couple other items for 2024 that might have fallen off the radar, including COVID-19 tolling requirements. (COVID may be over but the impact on certain items could extend well into 2024…).

Empowering Plans: P174 – PCORI and Parity and Lawsuits, Oh My!

On October 26, 2023
It’s the spookiest time of the year, and I’m not just talking about renewal season. In this Halloween episode of the Empowering Plans podcast, Jennifer McCormick and Nick Bonds talk through some of the scary issues creeping up on health plans: rising PCORI fees, proposed regulations on mental health parity rules, and two fascinating court cases that may have significant implications for ERISA plans going forward. But don’t be scared, Phia is here to help!

Empowering Plans: P173 – Gene-y in a Bottle: A Magical Overview of Cell and Gene Therapy

On October 12, 2023
Your wish is our command! Join Ron Peck and Corey Crigger as they discuss how this emerging treatment can impact self-funded health plans. With prices as high as $3.5 million, you can’t just wish for a strategy for dealing with these therapies, you must plan for it. Ron and Corey discuss the motivations to cover, the future benefits, and the concerns they are hearing from clients. You don’t know what we can see, so join us on a magic carpet ride around this life saving, but costly treatment.

Empowering Plans: P172 – Navigating the Gag Clause Prohibition

On September 28, 2023
In this installment of The Phia Group’s Empowering Plans podcast, attorneys Jon Jablon and Kendall Jackson delve into the issue of the gag clause prohibition, a mysterious law that continues to confound the self-funded industry. With the first attestation requirement approaching at the end of 2023, now is the time to make sure you know what needs to be done, how to do it, and how to keep yourself safe and compliant.

Empowering Plans: P171 – Mass Torts 101

On September 15, 2023
From time to time, do you hear about mass torts in the news but feel like you could use a little more background knowledge? Look no further than the latest edition of the Empowering Plans podcast series, (“Mass Torts 101”) in which attorneys Cindy Merrell and Lisa Hill explain the difference between the two types of mass tort cases -- class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL) – while delving into a couple of the larger MDLs making news of late.

Empowering Plans: P170 – PSA on the NSA

On August 31, 2023
It’s 10’o clock, do you know where your IDR determinations are? Join Attorneys Brian O’Hara and Corey Crigger as they issue a public service announcement on the state of the No Surprises Act, and specifically the challenges with the IDR process. Friends don’t let friends miss this podcast! In addition to the PSA on NSA, Corey discusses a case study highlighting the benefits of the Safeguard Program. Just Say No to skipping this episode of Empowering Plans.

Empowering Plans: P169 – Let’s Keep Learning - Back to (Law) School

On August 17, 2023
In the latest edition of the Empowering Plans podcast series, “Let’s Keep Learning - Back to (Law) School,” Attorneys Kelly Dempsey and Corey Crigger are here to take us all back to school! Listen as they discuss renewal season preparation items and a variety of late breaking lawsuits that pertain to multiple aspects of the self-funded industry. From civil courts hearing cases about NSA administrative issues all the way to ACA compliance (or lack thereof) there is something in this podcast for everyone. Once you listen to the podcast - class dismissed!

Empowering Plans: P168 – “Drafting” Plan Exclusions

On August 4, 2023
In this episode of Empowering Plans, Andrew Silverio and Kevin Brady discuss the unanticipated costs of playing pickleball and then “draft” their favorite (and least favorite) plan limitations and exclusions. Let us know who you think had the better picks!

Empowering Plans: P167 – Who is a Fiduciary and Does it Even Matter? Lawsuits Abound!

On July 21, 2023
In this episode of Empowering Plans, The Phia Group’s Chief Legal Officer – Ron Peck – and Sr. VP of Consulting – Jennifer McCormick, analyze recent lawsuits involving self-funded plan sponsors and their third party administrators, and accusations of fiduciary breach on the part of TPAs. We delve into whether TPAs can be fiduciaries, what this means, and whether it even matters when it comes down to how administrators manage plans. Finally, are plan sponsors signing contracts enabling TPAs to do things contrary to ERISA, and who is to blame when this is the case? Anyone and everyone handling self-funded plan assets needs to tune into this one!