Payer Roundup—Trump executive order expected this week; Independence Blue Cross offers 900 buyouts

White House
The biggest healthcare policy news this week likely will come from the White House, not Congress.

Trump poised to sign executive order on association health plans

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week that will alter the rules governing association health plans to allow individuals can pool together and buy insurance across state lines. Trump and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., first mentioned the possibility of the executive order late September. (Associated Press article)

Independence Blue Cross offers buyouts to 900 employees 

Independence Blue Cross, the largest insurer in the Philadelphia region, has offered buyouts to 900 employees across several business units who have at least 15 years of service under their belts. The insurer said in an email sent Thursday to employees that the offer is allows it to "reshape our business" was not a decision made in financial anxiety. (The Philadelphia Inquirer article

UPMC unveils new Medicare Advantage plans 

UPMC Health Plan will offer three new Medicare Advantage plans for 2018, two health management organization plans and one preferred provider organization plan. The plans will be offered in several central Pennsylvania counties UPMC now serves following its merger with Harrisburg-based PinnacleHealth. (Central Penn Business Journal article

Cigna to drop Oxycontin as a preferred option on its commercial group drug lists 

In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, Cigna will no longer include Oxycontin as a preferred option medication on its commercial group drug lists beginning Jan. 1. Cigna is in the process of notifying customers of the change so they have time to discuss alternative medications and treatment options with their doctors. (Announcement

2018 Medicare Part D premiums highest in Idaho and Utah 

Enrollees in Idaho and Utah will pay the most for Medicare Part D drug coverage next year, with average premiums of $65.52 in those states, which are a joint region under Part D. The national average premium will be $52.36. (Idaho Statesman article