Average FEHB Premiums to Rise 6.4 Percent
Federal employees and annuitants will face higher premiums for their health care in 2016 than in recent years.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, announced this week that in 2016 average premiums would rise 6.4 percent and the average enrollee’s share would increase 7.4 percent.
The average FEHB premium increase last year was 3.2 percent.
Higher pharmacy benefit costs to the government are said to be partially responsible for the increased premium rates, as is the inclusion this year of a new Self Plus One enrollment type.
While changes in the enrollee share of premiums will vary from plan to plan, on average, enrollees with Self only coverage will pay $5.50 more per bi-weekly pay period, enrollees with Family coverage will pay $19.61 more per bi-weekly pay period, and those who opt for Self Plus One coverage will pay $8.92 more per pay period than previously paid for Self and Family coverage.
While 95 percent of Self Plus One enrollees would pay less than under Family plans, OPM has encouraged enrollees to compare costs, because in certain cases Self Plus One will cost more than the Family option.
Overall, FEHB is offering in 2016 252 health plan choices governmentwide, including four new choices. FEHB provides healthcare benefits to 8.2 million federal employees, retirees, and dependents.
“For the sixth year in a row, the FEHBP premium increase will take a bite out of the already reduced paychecks of federal employees across the country,” said National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) president Richard Thissen. “In the past five years, pay raises for federal employees have totaled a mere 2 percent. The 6.4 percent increase in health insurance premiums is slightly higher than various estimates of private-sector increases, and it could even mean reduced take-home pay for some federal employees, who are slated to receive a 1.3 percent pay raise next year. Unfortunately, federal retirees are facing an even worse situation.”
Premium rates for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will rise on average 2.23 percent for dental plans and 3.61 percent for vision plans. Over 1.6 million FEDVIP contract holders are in dental plans and over 1.1 million contract holders are in vision plans.
FSAFEDS is a program allowing eligible employees to set aside pre-tax dollars in flexible spending accounts for health care spending. Over 350,000 employees participate in FSAFEDS.
Open Season for health benefits, dental and vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts will be held from November 9 through December 14, 2015.
“I urge FEHB participants to use the Open Season opportunity to carefully review their health care needs and to choose wisely among the plans and new enrollment options available to them,” said OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert.
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