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Large increase in 2010 federal health insurance (FEHB) premiums
Old 10-06-2009, 11:21 AM   #1
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Large increase in 2010 federal health insurance (FEHB) premiums

Access to FEHB (federal employees health insurance) is one of the terrific benefits that federal employees and retirees get, and this plus federal retirement benefits and job stability were my reasons for taking a somewhat uninspiring federal position.

FEHB premiums for both employees and retirees are going up next year.

Feds irate over health cost hikes - Federal news, government operations, agency management, pay & benefits - FederalTimes.com
Quote:
The average increase for all federal plans is 8.8 percent. But Blue Cross standard plan customers which comprise close to half of the enrollees in the federal health care program will see some of the biggest increases: 12.4 percent for families, and 15.1 percent for individuals.
Washington Times - CAUSEY: Cost of insurance may bite workers

I have BCBS Standard, and my premium will be going up from essentially $152.06/month to $175.09/month, and increase of $23.03/month.

So, since they subtract the premiums from my tiny federal pension before I get it, that means I can start calling it my even tinier federal pension.

Not that I'm suffering myself, and I know we signed up for something much cheaper than those with most other jobs can access, even with the increases, but gee.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:48 AM   #2
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Uninspiring? I'm just so...so shocked at that newsflash.

I saw the projected increases too. It never fails (premium increases) except no COLA this year to partially offset it.

I use a locally based health provider network for now. No complaints. When we move to a warmer climate in 9.4 years, I will switch to a national plan.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:49 PM   #3
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Two thoughts here:

(1) Last year my HDHP premiums thru FEHB plan did not increase (well, it went up a total of $.26 per year). This year, the premium is going up about 8%---so over a two year period, about 4% per year. In my mind, not too bad. My point is, these premium increases really should not be looked at over a one year period. While FEHB is not perfect, over the longer hall, I bet FEHB premiums have increased less than that for folks inthe private sector.

(2) What is so great about FEHB, is that people can vote with their "feet". If BC/BS is going up, look for another plan where the increas is smaller, or where the premium is decreasing. GEHA (self) high is lowering their premium.

In short, I don't think the Feds have any reason to complain about health coverage.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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Interesting! I never heard of HDHP, since nobody I know is on that. So, I went to OPM and found out what it is:
Quote:
High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) - A High Deductible Health Plan is a health insurance plan in which the enrollee plays a deductible of at least $1,150 (Self Only coverage) or $2,300 (family coverage). The annual out-of-pocket amount (including deductibles and copayments) the enrollee pays cannot exceed $5,800 (Self Only coverage) or $11,600 (family coverage). HDHPs can have first dollar coverage (no deductible) for preventive care and higher out-of-pocket copayments and coinsurance for services received from non-network providers. HDHPs offered by the FEHB Program establish and partially fund HSAs for all eligible enrollees and provide a comparable HRA for enrollees who are eligible for an HSA. The HSA premium funding or HRA credit amounts vary by plan.
It is nice that you are not paying an increase.
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:01 PM   #5
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Interesting! I never heard of HDHP, since nobody I know is on that. So, I went to OPM and found out what it is:

It is nice that you are not paying an increase.
Our cost in our Megacorp HDHP/HSA plan dropped 5% last year and the other PPO options were up around 10-12%.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stephenandrew View Post
.

(2) What is so great about FEHB, is that people can vote with their "feet". If BC/BS is going up, look for another plan where the increas is smaller, or where the premium is decreasing. GEHA (self) high is lowering their premium.

In short, I don't think the Feds have any reason to complain about health coverage.

So true , I was on GEHA high option until it became too high and I moved to BCBS . So this year I will again check out all the plans and make my decision but so far the federal health insurance has been great .
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:01 PM   #7
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I am anticipating a $30 to $50 monthly increase. My Mega-corp contribution is capped and all increases flow right to me.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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If it's any consolation, when DW and I retire we will be paying (for the two of us) about $1170 per month - up about 5% over last year. That's the BC/BS higher end plan with lower co-pays and deductibles. That's a lot of post tax dollars out of pocket but I guess I should just be glad we have access to insurance.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:27 PM   #9
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Hey Rich, is Medicare really $1170 a month?
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 73ss454 View Post
Hey Rich, is Medicare really $1170 a month?
It might be by the time he actually retires...
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:17 AM   #11
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This whole topic is one that I have been lax on. As soon as you start talking details of health care my eyes just roll up in my head and it's like the dog on the Simpsons.....all I hear is blahblahblahblah. I am in the middle of wondering if I should change my health insurance to another of the Fed choices. Currently under MailHandlers, but have wondered if I should change to another (such as BCBS). I currently pay about $120 a month for the standard and I will put my wife on it in the Fall of 2010 since I am hoping to take early retirement the summer of 2011. Wife is a UK citizen and she is happy with the NHS so I have left her off mine until the time I need to put her on it. I really need to just sit down and do some studying and try to get my head around the choices. Anybody know of a simple explaination of the program high points? Just wondering if there was a comparison on a Govt site that would keep me from having to do some serious studying.
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Old 10-07-2009, 07:23 AM   #12
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F4Mandolin, go here to get information on FEHB health plans. Click on some of the links on the left, such as "plan information". Here is a plan comparison tool.

If you lose those links, just go to the OPM website, type in "FEHB" in the search function, and this is the first thing to pop up.
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:21 AM   #13
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Didn't they have a similar large increase in BC/BS last year? Everyone got up in arms. Can't remember if they lowered the increase or what, but I know they did something.

I would do the HDHP since I like the idea of premium pass thru, but don't think it would save me any money. Lots of doc appts for DD this year. Her broken arm was over $2500!

I've been happy with BC basic option. I put dental $ into my FSA.
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:30 AM   #14
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Didn't they have a similar large increase in BC/BS last year? Everyone got up in arms. Can't remember if they lowered the increase or what, but I know they did something.
Yes, they did. From News Articles: 2009 Health Insurance Rates: How Much Will Your Rate Change? ,
Quote:
the plan with the biggest dollar increase next year is the Blue Cross standard family plan which will go up $42.12 to a total of $356.59 per month while the "standard self" plan will rise $17.40 for a total monthly employee payment of $152.06.
This increase did happen as I am now paying $152.06/month. That was a 12.9% increase in premiums as opposed to this year's 15.1% increase for BCBS Standard self only. That comes to a 30% increase in two years. (175.09/134.66)=1.300
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:46 AM   #15
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I'm happy with GEHA standard option -- even with the increase it will only be around $80 per month (for self only). Comparing with the high option or either of the BCBS options, just don't see the difference in coverage to justify the much higher cost (for self only) -- if you have any major issue, the catastrophic limit will likely be reached anyway.
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:59 AM   #16
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I have BC Standard and last year went from family to self only. So at this point in time, even with the increase, I will be paying much less than I did before.
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It gets even more interesting
Old 10-13-2009, 04:14 PM   #17
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It gets even more interesting

I just saw this article today about providers departing the FEHB system or reducing coverage.
Open season is not too far away. Heads up.

Insurance providers drop out of federal employee health program (10/9/09) -- GovExec.com

At the very end of the article, there is a link to a convenient table done by state. I pasted the link here, hope it w*rks directly from this post.

OPM has provided agencies with a full list of changes to FEHBP health plans.

My plan here in NY is not affected.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
I just saw this article today about providers departing the FEHB system or reducing coverage.
Open season is not too far away. Heads up.

Insurance providers drop out of federal employee health program (10/9/09) -- GovExec.com

At the very end of the article, there is a link to a convenient table done by state. I pasted the link here, hope it w*rks directly from this post.

OPM has provided agencies with a full list of changes to FEHBP health plans.

My plan here in NY is not affected.
Absolutely amazing. It looked like a lot of the HDHP high deductible plans were being dropped entirely, along with some others, and some plans were being eliminated in parts of the country. I checked and luckily BCBS Standard (my plan) is apparently unaffected, for now.
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:30 PM   #19
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Absolutely amazing. It looked like a lot of the HDHP high deductible plans were being dropped entirely
Interesting. We haven't yet seen our 2010 open enrollment option yet, but this bears watching. It seemed to me that Megacorp was encouraging the HDHP/HSA option for us; in fact, for 2009 they cut our cost 5% and doubled their match into the HSA. I wonder if this is specifically a fed thing or if this is a trend. I've been thrilled to have the HSA option and it's worked extremely well so far after nearly two years on the plan.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:03 PM   #20
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When I looked at that FEHB table of provider exits and changes at the link I posted, 2 thoughts popped into my head...

1. I hope mine is unchanged.

2. Why would a private insurance provider choose to forego collecting premiums from one of the largest labor pools in the country?
Low enrollment in their plan? The aging federal w*rkforce is filing more claims and profit margin is reduced ?
Not renewing their contract with OPM just before health reform kicks in (that was an apolitical observation, folks, not a commentary) in whatever form it ends up in, or not at all?
Withdrawing from participating in FEHB into a "wait and see" safety position until the dust settles?

Just being logical and brainstorming some possibilities...remote as some may be.
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