Feds Will Pay 5.6% More Toward Health Care Premiums Next Year

Feds Will Pay 5.6% More Toward Health Care Premiums Next Year

Employees of the federal government will now pay an additional 5.6% in insurance premiums by 2020. It is a drastic increase over the last increment that had been announced for this year. It had been one of the lowest increments ever.

On Wednesday the OPM stated that the government’s contribution to FEHBP premiums will increase by around 3.2%. About 70% of an enrollee’s premium costs is what the government is likely to cover. Even though the enrollee’s contribution to premium rates has increased by just around 1.5% this year, 2018 had seen a massive 6.1% jump. Over 8.2M current and former federal employees along with their family happen to be enrolled in the FEHBP.

Federal workers (non-postal) will be paying an additional $8.74 per paycheck on average to cover insurance next year. Those opting for self-only coverage can expect to pay an additional $4.72 per paycheck. Those in a family plan can expect an increase of around $14.20 in their rates on average.

An additional $10.31 per paycheck will be paid by US Postal Service workers. However, exact increases may vary based on what plan they’re on.

The current director of HC&I at OPM, Laurie Bodenheimer, stated that the increments are dependent on the insurance plans that federal employees are currently enrolled in. Although average premiums had been predicted to grow by around 1.5% this year, most employees ended paying only an additional 0.42% on average, which was dependent on the insurance plans that they had chosen.

Two plans were added by OPM for its employees across the country along with sixteen other options for those in local regions. For the first time in over thirty years it is also providing indemnity benefit plans. These “fee-for-service” plans enable enrollees to approach almost any healthcare provider & receive complete reimbursement for a fixed percentage of all their costs. After going through a thorough bidding process GEHA has been granted the right to provide indemnity plans.

Officials stated that the sharp increase in rates for the next year was because of the reinstatement of the HIP fee, which had been waived off in 2018. ACA Act set up this fee in order to provide increased funding for state exchanges and happens to be paid by insurance firms. Another important reason was the rising costs of drugs stated leading officials.

David Cox, AFGE President, blasted OPM for not reining in the program’s costs.

OPM will now provide over 279 healthcare choices to enrollees, compared to 265 this year. As plans vary based on the region, individuals aren’t likely to have such a wide number of choices. However, over eighteen nationwide plans are open to all enrollees. Over 5% to 6% of all FEHBP enrollees usually change their plans every year.

Mr. Bodenheimer stated beginning next year, that the FEHBP would be providing more benefits and facilities for substance abuse and mental health treatment. More services will also be offered by these plans. One includes helping enrollees turn away from smoking along with improved services for people suffering from chronic conditions. A plan comparison web tool has also been improved by the OPM, which will be open to enrollees starting a week before Open Season kicks off.

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