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Debt Reduction and Federal Retiree Health Benefit
Old 12-04-2010, 01:40 PM   #1
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Debt Reduction and Federal Retiree Health Benefit

Hi everyone, just joined. Nice to be in touch with like-minded folks. Sorry if this is posted in the wrong forum, or too specific to certain retirees.

Looking to share thoughts with federal retirees (or soon to be) about plans for the retiree health care coverage known as FEHB. I'm 58 and plan on retiring from federal service next year under MRA+10. Only 7 months to go. Really dislike my job, but the FEHB medical plan that retirees get is the only thing that motivates me to get up in the morning and schlepp my way in every day.

My question and worry is about the new debt reduction proposals being considered by Congress. One part of it would impact FEHB, and limit or reduce the subsidy benefit. Are there any FEHB retirees or soon-to-be retirees worried about this? We already get (or will get) tiny pensions from federal service, and this could make it even tinier.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observer View Post
Hi everyone, just joined. Nice to be in touch with like-minded folks. Sorry if this is posted in the wrong forum, or too specific to certain retirees.

Looking to share thoughts with federal retirees (or soon to be) about plans for the retiree health care coverage known as FEHB. I'm 58 and plan on retiring from federal service next year under MRA+10. Only 7 months to go. Really dislike my job, but the FEHB medical plan that retirees get is the only thing that motivates me to get up in the morning and schlepp my way in every day.

My question and worry is about the new debt reduction proposals being considered by Congress. One part of it would impact FEHB, and limit or reduce the subsidy benefit. Are there any FEHB retirees or soon-to-be retirees worried about this? We already get (or will get) tiny pensions from federal service, and this could make it even tinier.
Welcome aboard.

Do you have a link to the story or source detailing this proposal ?

I am a FERS deferred retiree (will apply in 4 years at age 56 under MRA+10), not using the FEHB under my own federal employment record. My FEHB coverage is through CSRS survivor benefits.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome!

Federal Eye - Presidential panel offers 2nd proposal on federal pay freeze

The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program would use vouchers under one recommendation. This plan, with a projected savings of $18 billion through 2020, would transform FEHB into a fixed subsidy that grows at prescribed rates.

"For federal retirees, this subsidy could be used to pay a portion of the Medicare premium," the report said.

The commission warned that "a voucher or subsidy system holds significant promise of controlling costs, but also carries serious potential risks. To assess the balance of benefits and risks, we recommend a rigorous external review process to study the outcomes of the FEHB premium support program to determine its effects on costs, health care utilization, and health outcomes."
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:19 PM   #4
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Congress has the authority to make changes as they see fit, but I just don't think the political will is there to screw anyone currently over the age of (say) 50 or 55. That's not only true with federal retirement benefits, IMO, but stuff like SS and Medicare as well.

I don't expect it but the best case for me *personally* (not best for the country, though) is for them to kick the can down the road on SS and Medicare until I'm over 50 (45 now) and thus I'd likely be exempted from the worst of the screwings.
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:14 PM   #5
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The voucher system has been promoted several times as a way of saving money and making health plans more consumer driven. The problem is that it changes a "benefit" to a "subsidy." It also severely penalizes older folks who are more likely to need expensive health care. I'm not an expert in this area, but I personally believe the outcome would be far worse for employees and retirees than the savings.
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