The American Federation of Government Employees expresses grave concern at the announcement by the Office of Personnel Management that premiums under FEHBP would be rising by an average of 8.8% in 2010.
Lost in the announced average is the fact that for 60% of the enrollees in FEHBP, those covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option, their premiums will be going up by 15% for self coverage and 12% for family coverage. To add insult to injury, enrollees will not only have to pay much higher premiums, they will have to pay a higher share of premiums, as FEHBP’s formula allows the government to shift an increasing share of costs onto enrollees every time a plan’s premiums go up by more than the average. In 2010, the government will pay just 67% of the standard option’s family premium, down from 69% last year.
Already we know that tens of thousands of full time federal employees do not participate in FEHBP and are not covered by another source. This increase will make it impossible for lower-paid workers to achieve the health security they need. Although the Obama Administration was not in office to negotiate with the insurance carriers for the 2010 contract year, AFGE intends to work closely with them to ensure that negotiations with the carriers will produce far better results for 2011.