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Daily Archives: December 17, 2013

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: Available Health Insurance Options

CRS – Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP): Available Health Insurance Options – Annie L. Mach, Analyst in Health Care Financing; Ada S. Cornell, Information Research Specialist. November 13, 2013

“The statute governing the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) is found in Title 5 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 89. The program is administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which is statutorily given the authority to contract with qualified carriers offering plans and to prescribe regulations necessary to carry out the statute, among other duties.  The federal government is the largest employer in the United States, and FEHBP is the largest employer-sponsored health insurance program. FEHBP covers about 8.2 million individuals, providing an estimated $47 billion annually in health care benefits. The participation rate among eligible enrollees is about 90% (85% of eligible individuals enroll in FEHBP as the primary policy holder, and another 5% are covered as a family member).  Eligible enrollees include current federal employees, the President, annuitants, and eligible family members. Active Members of Congress and certain congressional staff do not receive health benefits through FEHBP as a benefit of their employment, but may be eligible to enroll in FEHBP in retirement. Newly hired employees have 60 days from their entry on duty date to sign up for an FEHBP plan. Part-time workers are also eligible for coverage, but generally they are required to pay a larger share of premiums than full-time employees.”

A Tale of Two Commitments: Equilibrium Default and Temptation

A Tale of Two Commitments: Equilibrium Default and Temptation, Makoto Nakajima, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. December 11, 2013. FRB of Philadelphia Working Paper No. 14-1 “I construct the life-cycle model with equilibrium default and preferences featuring temptation and self-control. The model provides quantitatively similar answers to positive questions such as the causes of the observed rise in debt… Continue Reading

Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance

“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), in collaboration with the other members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), today published in the Federal Register final supervisory guidance titled Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance. Technological advancements allow financial institutions to use social media in a variety of ways, including marketing; facilitating applications for… Continue Reading

Gallup Poll – Honesty and Ethics Rating of Various Professions

“Americans’ rating of the honesty and ethics of the clergy has fallen to 47%, the first time this rating has dropped below 50% since Gallup first asked about the clergy in 1977. Clergy have historically ranked near the top among professions on this measure, hitting a high rating of 67% in 1985.  Gallup has asked… Continue Reading

NOAA Global Analysis – November 2013

“The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces during November 2013 was record highest for November in the 134-year period of record, at 0.78°C (1.40°F) above the 20th century average. This surpasses the previous record set in 2004 by 0.03°C (0.05°F) and is also the sixth highest monthly departure from average among all months on… Continue Reading

Open Data GovLab 500

“The Open Data 500 is the first comprehensive study of U.S. companies using open government data to develop new products and services. The study will identify, describe, and analyze companies that use open government data in their businesses. The Open Data 500 is designed to provide a basis for assessing the value of government data;… Continue Reading

Treasury International Capital data for October 2013

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released Treasury International Capital (TIC) data for October 2013. The next release, which will report on data for November 2013, is scheduled for January 16, 2014. The sum total in October of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a monthly net TIC… Continue Reading

Office of Financial Research Releases Second Annual Report

“The Office of Financial Research (OFR) today submitted to Congress its 2013 Annual Report, fulfilling a requirement to annually assess the state of the United States financial system and analyze threats to U.S. financial stability. According to the report, threats include vulnerabilities in markets for securities financing transactions and credit, vulnerabilities to an increase in interest rates and… Continue Reading

Fears rise for Latin American banana industry as devastating disease hits leading variety in Africa and Middle East

Nature – Declan Butler, December 11, 2013: “A variant of a fungus that rots and kills the main variety of export banana has been found in plantations in Mozambique and Jordan, raising fears that it could spread to major producers and decimate supplies. The pathogen, which was until now limited to parts of Asia and a region… Continue Reading

NIH and NFL tackle concussion research

News release: “The National Institutes of Health has selected eight projects to receive support to answer some of the most fundamental problems on traumatic brain injury, including understanding long-term effects of repeated head injuries and improving diagnosis of concussions. Funding is provided by the Sports and Health Research Program, a partnership among the NIH, the National… Continue Reading