Guide Helps Federal Employees Choose Health Plans, Save on Premiums

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By • November 25, 2012 Comments

Open enrollment season is now underway and runs until December 12, so that means it’s time for federal employees to choose health insurance plans within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

For more than three decades, Consumers’ CHECKBOOK has offered its annual Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees to aid the federal workforce in choosing the right health plan while at the same time saving money in their plan selection.

Written by Walton Francis and the editors of Consumers’ CHECKBOOK magazine, the 2013 Guide rates all of the health insurance plans available to the federal workforce and retirees. The ratings take into account plan quality, premiums, catastrophic limits, and estimates of likely out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses and also analyze how well each plan covers low, average or high medical expenses. The Guide covers not just health insurance but also dental and vision plans. According to Consumers’ CHECKBOOK, federal employees have saved as much as $1,000 by using the Guide to select the most appropriate health plan for themselves and their families.

For example, the Guide shows that annual costs tend to be substantially lower in HMO-type plans than in traditional insurance plans. In several DC-area HMOs, including the Kaiser Mid-Atlantic Standard option, CareFirst BlueChoice High option, and Aetna Open Access Basic option, an average family can save $1,500 or more compared to the most popular plan, Blue Cross Standard option.

The Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees is available in both print and Internet formats. They are both nearly identical, but the online version offers more depth and details.

It can be purchased at The print version is available for purchase for $9.95, plus $3 shipping/handling. Subscription access to the online version is also available at the web site for $9.95.

Many agencies provide free access to their employees. To find out if your agency has subscribed to online access, visit

© 2016 FedSmith Inc. All rights reserved. This copyrighted article may not be reproduced without express written consent of FedSmith Inc.

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About the Author (  |   )

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the web site and its sibling sites.


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