On average, non-postal federal employees with self-only coverage will see their health care premiums go up $2.93 more per pay period next year. Those with family coverage will pay about $6.89 more, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Changes in shares of premiums depend on what plan enrollees choose.
Those enrolled in the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield Standard will pay $3.21 more per pay period for self only coverage, for example. Those with family coverage will pay $8.33 more. OPM, which administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), attributes the increases to the fact that enrollees choose better plans that require more out-of-pocket costs. These changes represent about a 3.1-4% increase compared with last year.
“We generally feel we are in the low end of the industry average,” said John Foley, OPM’s director of Planning and Policy Analysis. Private sector workers are expected to pay about 3-6.5% more in premiums next year. Postal workers are facing a much higher increase – 18.7%.
But AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said any increases shift the financial burden to employees.
“The FEHB rate increase represents yet another hit to federal employees’ take home pay after years of stagnant wages and eroding benefits,” he said. “Worse yet, the disproportionate rate increase represents a cost-shift to employees who will have to pay an even larger share for their health benefits than last year.”
Open season for enrolling or changing FEHBP plans runs Nov. 10 -Dec. 8.