NTEU has just returned from a briefing at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the 2011 health insurance premium rates for federal employees and retirees. At the briefing, OPM announced the rates for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).
The overall average employee premiums will rise by 7.2 percent. The most popular program Blue Cross/Blue Shield will also see some increases. The BC/BS self-only coverage will increase an average of 6.9 percent while family coverage has a 7.6 percent hike. Premium increases for the accompanying dental and vision plans were also announced.
Dental premiums are increasing 3.8 percent and vision premiums are rising an average of 3.0 percent.
While NTEU is disappointed that insurers are again increasing health care premiums, OPM was able to hold this year’s increase below last year’s 8.8 percent and below predicted increases of up to 10.5 percent in the private sector. In 2010, FEHBP’s most popular health care program—the Blue Cross/Blue Shield standard plan—rose by 15 percent for self-only coverage and 12 percent for family coverage.
In 2011, family coverage under FEHBP will now be extended to adult children up to the age of 26, a provision won with the strong support of NTEU. Additionally, OPM announced preventive care and screening will be available with no out-of-pocket costs for enrollees.
NTEU will continue to work to bring enrollee costs down in FEHBP by supporting H.R. 4489, legislation to reform the current prescription drug pricing process.
Enrollees should closely examine their current coverage and consider any changes that may be needed during the upcoming open season for federal benefits, which runs from Nov. 8 through Dec. 13.