WASHINGTON – This afternoon, the United States Office of Personnel Management released a briefing to employee groups, including the American Federation of Government Employees, outlining the 2023 insurance premiums for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. Employees and retirees enrolled in the program will see an average increase in their premuims of 8.7 percent, one of the highest jumps in recent history.
The average federal employee can expect a remarkably high increase in their health insurance premiums, with members enrolled in benefits from BlueCross/BlueShield expecting to see an increase between 10.7 and 11.7 percent in premiums, dramatically outpacing any expected pay raises and their current earnings.
AFGE President Everett Kelley released the following statement addressing this increase in premiums and the chilling effect it may have on employee retention and recruitment:
"Today’s announcement of an 8.7% average increase in health care premium share for active and retired federal employees marks the highest rate of increase in health care costs in over a decade, but that only tells part of the story.
"Among the largest, most popular plans, rates are going up even faster. For a single employee on the popular Blue Cross/Blue Shield Standard plan, that employee will see an 11.7% increase. If that employee has a family, they’ll see their premium go up by 10.7% this year."
"Insurance companies brought in $150 billion in profits from 2012-2021, including $19 billion just last year. Instead of coming up with creative solutions to tackle this waste in the health care system and taking proactive steps to bend the cost curve, the government is relying on the private sector’s tired, broken strategy of continuous cost-shifting onto employees. The only beneficiaries of this strategy are corporate executives padding their bottom lines while working families scramble to find the extra money they need to pay for basic health care necessities. One way to help curb costs would be with stronger oversight of carriers gaming the system, segmenting the market in ways that are driving up costs at artificially high rates by pooling high risk individuals into a handful of plans."
"As I wrote in a recent opinion piece, multiple credible studies show how years of paltry pay increases have caused federal employee pay to lag behind the private sector by nearly 22.5 percent. If the government continues to squeeze federal employees in a vice with low pay on one side and out-of-control health care costs on the other, we will continue to see widespread staffing crises and the attendant complications as government struggles to recruit and retain talented employees who can get a better deal in the private sector."