(October 7, 2014) Washington, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has announced the average premium rate for the 8.2 million people covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program will increase by 3.2 percent in 2015. That percentage is lower than last year’s increase of 3.7 percent and represents the fourth consecutive year that FEHB rate increases have been below 4 percent. The average premium increase for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will be 1.7 percent for dental coverage and average premiums for vision benefits will increase by 1.5 percent.
“OPM is continuing its commitment to provide federal employees, annuitants and their families with the best possible coverage options,” said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. “The FEHB Program delivers competitive rates and high quality benefits through an efficiently run program to attract and retain top-talent in the federal service.”
Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the FEHB program now covers more than 400,000 young people between the ages of 22 and 26 through their parents’ employer-based coverage.
“The ACA has not only expanded coverage for uninsured Americans, but increased competition, accountability, and incentives for value in the system, which have resulted in lower cost increases in the FEHB and elsewhere,” Director Archuleta said.
The FEHB program continues to offer comprehensive preventive services at no cost to the enrollee and a number of plans have added incentives to enrollees to participate in wellness activities. In 2015, there will be 257 plan choices, including 4 new plan choices offered in 12 service areas and 2 existing plans expanding to 8 service areas.
On average, FEHB Program enrollees with self only coverage will pay $2.93 more each bi-weekly pay period, and enrollees with family coverage will pay $6.89 more. Premiums for Health Maintenance Organizations will increase an average of 4.0 percent, while Fee-for-Service plans will see an average increase of 3.1 percent.
In the upcoming Open Season, federal employees interested in a flexible spending account (FSAFEDS) can avail themselves of new features: a lower annual minimum ($100) and the ability to carry over up to $500 of unused funds to the following year.
The 2014 Open Season for health, dental, and vision insurance and flexible spending accounts will be held from November 10, 2014 to December 8, 2014. The annual Open Season gives federal employees and retirees the opportunity to review their health plan choices and make changes for the following year. It also allows eligible employees to enroll for coverage. FEHB Program enrollees should review the benefits and premiums for their health plan choices and decide what coverage will best fit their health care needs in the coming year.
Established in 1960, the FEHB Program is the largest employer-sponsored health benefits program in the United States. The government provides a weighted average contribution of 72 percent of premiums with a cap of no more than 75 percent of total premiums. Federal employees, retirees, and dependents participate in the Program. Approximately 85 percent of Federal employees choose to enroll and, including covered federally employed spouses, approximately 90 percent of retirees participate.