Rising health insurance rates will leave less money in your pocket

Federal employees and retirees will pay 6.1 percent more for health insurance premiums next year, the Office of Personnel Management announced Oct. 4 .

On average, enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will pay an additional $5.57 every two weeks for self-only coverage, $12.55 for self-plus-one plans, and $12.17 for family coverage.

Biweekly premiums for enrollees under Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s standard option, the most popular plan in the federal program, will rise $7.17 for self-only, $17.04 for self-plus-one, and $17.72 for family coverage.

These rising costs far eclipse any increase in wages or Social Security payments next year. The rate hikes mean less take-home pay for current and retired federal workers and another year of difficult decisions by many families on how to pay their bills.

The government’s share of those premiums will increase just 3.2 percent. This continues a long trend of the government shifting costs onto federal workers and retirees, making coverage less affordable and forcing some enrollees to switch to cheaper plans or drop their coverage altogether.

Premiums increased 6.2 percent on average this year for enrollees, while the government’s share increased 3.7 percent.

Premiums also are increasing an average of 1.26 percent for dental plans and decreasing by 0.48 percent for vision coverage, OPM said.

Enrollees can select new coverage, make changes to their existing coverage, or cancel enrollment during the annual open season, which runs from Nov. 13 to Dec. 11. A full listing of health insurance rates for all 262 insurers participating in the plan next year are available by clicking here .


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