(WASHINGTON) - The nation's largest federal and DC employee union, the American Federation of Government Employees expressed concern at the projection by the Office of Personnel Management that premiums under FEHBP would rise by an average of 7.2% in 2011.
However, FEHBP's largest plan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option, will charge enrollees 6.9% more for self coverage and 7.6% more for family coverage. "While we are pleased to see that these increases are smaller than those in 2010, they are still too high. Any and all increases make it difficult for lower-paid workers to achieve health security. There are already tens of thousands of full time federal employees who do not participate in FEHBP because of the cost," stated AFGE National President John Gage.
The government will still be paying just 67% of the premium for BCBS's Standard Option, down from 72% a decade ago. In this time, the FEHBP has gradually shifted more costs onto enrollees, while holding its own increases down. This year, there was no increase in cost shifting, but also no move to restore the standard of 72%. "Participants pay 30% or more of premiums, along with substantial copays and deductibles, but we have had no voice in the annual negotiations over benefits, prices, or financing. That is something we will be continuing to fight for as this process continues."