April 21, 2004
Diane Witiak
(202) 639-6419

AFGE Criticizes OPM Request For HSA-Based Insurance Plans

WASHINGTON, D.C.—John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), today criticized the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for the release of its annual call letter to FEHBP insurance carriers seeking proposals for Health Savings Account-based plans.

Gage called OPM’s call letter “the first step on a slippery slope that may undermine employer provided comprehensive health insurance for federal employees and their families.

Gage says the use of Health Savings Account-based plans transfers the financial risks of health care costs from employers to employees in exactly the same way that Individual Retirement Accounts transfer the financial risks of retirement from employers to employees.

“OPM is going in the wrong direction with this initiative,” Gage added. “Group insurance works best when the pool of participants is larger—not made smaller by inferior insurance plans.”

“OPM should be doing more to consolidate the purchasing power of the eight million participants in FEHBP to obtain every possible discount for health insurance and prescription drugs,” Gage emphasized. “Instead, OPM is introducing these schemes that have people going it alone, lured by tax shelters into believing they'll be able to get the best deal all by themselves.”

Gage vowed that AFGE would continue to push for legislation that requires OPM to negotiate group discounts on behalf of all federal employees and their families, and fight attempts by the administration to throw its workforce to the wolves.

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